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Public Statements

Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I just want to do one thing in terms of responding to Senator Grassley, who is a friend. We enjoy a very good relationship on the Judiciary Committee, and we are just friends. But the idea that these new provisions in the VAWA bill are political just couldn't be further from the truth.

Let me talk about just one provision. It is about women on Indian reservations who get abused by a partner or a boyfriend or husband who isn't Native. And this happens all the time. This provision gave jurisdiction to the tribes to prosecute these individuals.

I am on the Indian Affairs Committee. I talk to tribal leaders all the time. I go to reservations all the time. My colleagues have no idea how grateful tribal leaders were and how important this was. One out of every three Indian women in this country is raped at some time in her life, and by far the largest majority of that is not by male Indians, it is by non-Indians. I can't think of anything that is less political. I just can't. And I ask my colleagues to think, to give a second of thought before they say stuff like that.

It really is, as Senator Murray said, offensive to her. I actually found it more sad. I find it sad.

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Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to recognize that today is the fifth anniversary of a tragedy in my home State--the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis. The collapse killed 13 people and injured 145 others. That collapse was a shock to Minnesotans and to the country. How could a bridge on our Interstate Highway System collapse? It underscores the importance, of course, of investing in our infrastructure. We did move quickly to replace the bridge--and it is a beautiful bridge--thanks to the leadership of Senator Klobuchar and others.

I wish to say a few words about the response by the people and the first responders in Minneapolis and the metropolitan area. It was amazing. All the first responders had interoperable radio signals. People in Minneapolis ran to the bridge to help. People did heroic things. I am very proud of Minnesota. I am proud of Mayor Rybak and the response of other first responders in the metropolitan area. I am so proud to represent Minnesota.

My heart goes out to the families of those who perished that day and also to their loved ones and their friends and also to the survivors who are still recovering in so many different ways.

I urge my colleagues not to forget that day. We need to invest in our infrastructure to make sure this doesn't happen again.

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