The Democratic Party of Missouri and Republican Senate candidate Sarah Steelman exchanged blows on Monday over the Violence Against Women Act.
The Missouri Democrats uploaded a video to YouTube in which Steelman admitted that she was unfamiliar with the bill, because she was "not serving right now."
Steelman, who is running against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), described the video as a desperate attempt to "create an issue where one doesn't exist"
“Of course I am for stopping violence against women," she said. "It is unfortunate that the Senate Democrats are making the current re-authorization of Violence Against Women bill into a political football. The Republicans are offering an improved version of the reauthorization bill and I want to review it."
The VAWA, originally passed in 1994 and reauthorized twice since, provides funding to local communities to improve their response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The federal grants from the law support law enforcement training, victim services, transitional housing, and legal assistance.
Republicans oppose the current reauthorization bill being considered by the Senate because it would allow battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas, and expand protections to same sex couples and Native American tribes.
“Considering, as of Friday, Sarah Steelman had no idea what the Violence Against Women Act is, her righteous indignation is pretty rich,” Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said. “The Violence Against Women Act is instrumental in protecting women and families from domestic violence, but Sarah Steelman still won’t say whether she supports this bill. The Senate is voting on this bill as early as this week, and the thousands of victims of domestic violence here in Missouri would probably tell Sarah that Violence Against Women does, in fact, exist and remains a very serious issue.”
Watch the video, uploaded to YouTube on April 23, below: