16 female senators push NFL on violence
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Sixteen female senators signed a letter Thursday urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to institute a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence.  

They said they are "shocked and disgusted" by the video released this week of former Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice punching his now-wife in an elevator in February. 


"Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year," they wrote in the letter urging the no-tolerance policy. 

Every female Democratic senator signed on except Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D-Mo.) and Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuCongress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ Lobbying world MORE (D-La.). Landrieu is facing a tough reelection race.

Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret Collins The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Congress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance Senators say Trump open to expanding background checks MORE (R-Maine) signed the letter, while Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (R-Alaska) and Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerThe 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal Landmark US-Russia arms control treaty poised for final blow GOP senator introduces bill banning 'addictive' social media features MORE (R-Neb.) did not. 

The NFL has suspended Rice indefinitely, reversing course after initially handing down a two-game suspension before the video was released. The Baltimore Ravens cut him and canceled his contract.

In August, the NFL instituted a six-game suspension policy for violent crimes and a full ban after the second offense. But the senators noted a player could petition for reinstatement after a year. 

"We are deeply concerned that the NFL's new policy, announced last month, would allow a player to commit a violent act against a woman and return after a short suspension," they wrote. "If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn't get a second chance to play football in the NFL."

The NFL has tapped former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead an independent investigation into the league’s handling of the Rice incident after questions of when it first obtained the video released publicly this week. A number of lawmakers have piled on criticism this week.  

The White House declined Thursday to comment on the NFL's handling of the situation, or calls for Goodell to resign over his role in the league's response.

"I haven't heard the president comment specifically on the actions or the handling of the situation of the National Football League," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Justin Sink contributed.

— This story was updated at 2:35 p.m.