BISMARCK, N.D. - Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he voted with the U.S. House majority on Thursday to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
Cramer said in a statement that he supported an amendment to help eliminate potential constitutional challenges over tribal sovereignty but the amendment failed.
Although the bill is not ideal, “our efforts today reflect the best we could achieve given the circumstances,” Cramer’s statement said. “This issue is very important to my family and me, and I am dedicated to promoting policies to ensure a safeguard for victims of domestic abuse.”
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who held a hearing on the legislation in North Dakota, said it is the first bill she co-sponsored as a U.S. senator to pass Congress. She said it gives tribal governments the authority to prosecute non-Native perpetrators on tribal land and she called it "an important step in our efforts to reduce the instances of domestic violence."
The 286-138 House vote sent the bill to President Barack Obama. It renews a 1994 law aimed at providing protections from domestic abuse and prosecuting abusers.
Obama said he would sign the bill "as soon as it hits my desk."