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Domestic Violence Debate - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Domestic Violence Debate

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U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, (R) North Dakota, is clarifying his stance on the Violence Against Women Act, now working its way through the U.S. Senate.

"Rick has always supported a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  This law has always received strong bipartisan support and must be reauthorized", said Alee Lockman, Berg spokeswoman.

Berg's position on the issue came to light after Heidi Heitkamp, his democratic opponent in this fall's North Dakota U.S. Senate race, hosted the first of a series of roundtable discussions on domestic violence in Grand Forks on Wednesday.

"I want to do everything that I can to make sure that the Violence Against Women Act is reauthorized. One thing that I've learned in public life is that you can never take anything for granted," Heitkamp told a group of citizens and law enforcement officials at a roundtable at a violence intervention center yesterday.

Reached late Wednesday evening, a Berg spokesperson indicated that Berg supported the underlying bill, but was waiting to see the final version of the Senate bill before getting behind it. 

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee seized on the comments in a news release issued Thursday morning:

Rick Berg is once again putting partisan Washington politics before what's best for North Dakota, telling a North Dakota TV station that he does not currently support the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – landmark legislation that fights domestic abuse across the country.

KVLY reports, "Berg's office today told us today he won't take a position on the bill until all the provisions are in place." -  Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Berg Communications Director Alee Lockman responded: This law has always received strong bipartisan support and must be reauthorized.  Instead of slowing the process down with typical Washington political games, like trying to sneak in off-topic liberal policy initiatives like amnesty for illegal immigrants, Senate Democrats should proceed with a straight-forward up-or-down vote and pass this important legislation."

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