ST. LOUIS – As the talk of impeaching President Donald Trump and investigations into possible wrongdoing continue, vital federal funding remains unapproved by the House to test all the backlogged rape kits in Missouri and around the country.
According to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, there are 5,400 backlogged rape kits that need to be tested.
Congresswoman Ann Wagner, who represents Missouri’s Second District, said since talk of impeachment of the president has started in the House of Representatives, the normal federal funding for rape kits has not been approved. Wagner said she blames House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“This is stand-alone legislation that should easily be moving through the House. It has every single reauthorization since 2005,” she said. “This is something we can all be for. I hate to see people playing partisan politics with something so important.”
Wagner is the leading Republican on the reauthorization of the Debbie Smith Act, which has provided between $15 million and $20 million to Missouri since 2009 to DNA test rape kits, with the hope of offering justice to victims and getting violent predators off the streets. Wagner said for the first time, money has not been approved. She said nothing in Washington is getting done with impeachment talk.
“Things have ground to a halt,” she said.
The congresswoman said this reauthorization has always been bipartisan until now. She said Speaker Pelosi needs to approve the funding and not hurt rape victims further.
Wagner believes an impeachment inquiry is unnecessary.
“I've seen nothing to impugn the president and allow the House to go after impeachment of the president,” she said.
Wagner is promising to not give up her fight for funding.
“I’m dead set on fighting for that woman who went through the trauma to go to a clinic and have that DNA test done. She deserves our respect,” she said.