Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is battling with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over the Violence Against Women Act. Ernst is saying that Schumer is halting her bill to thwart her reelection campaign and Schumer is charging that Ernst is “afraid of the NRA.” The conflict underscored the tension on legislation ahead of next year’s election, when Ernst will be fighting to win a second term and Schumer will be leading the charge to defeat her, Politico reports. Ernst’s seat is one of a half-dozen competitive seats targeted by Democrats in 2020. Ernst spoke to reporters Tuesday about a GOP version of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, where Ernst said Schumer does not want her to have any legislative wins. “Basically anybody that’s up in 2020, Schumer doesn’t want to move on legislation sponsored by them,” Ernst said.
Schumer replied: “Ask Sen. Ernst if she believes a boyfriend of a woman who has gotten a protection order issued against him should get a gun? Sen. Ernst evidently believes yes, because in the bill she’s putting forward it doesn’t have that provision even if it did in the House.” He said Ernst should push Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “to bring the House-passed bill on the floor and we’ll debate it. And we can debate her amendment, which the gun lobby wants but almost no other American wants.” The spat came as Ernst prepares to introduce her version of the Violence Against Women Act, after bipartisan discussions with Senate Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to reauthorize the law have fallen apart. Schumer and other Democrats have blamed Republican leadership for not bringing the House-passed version forward.