Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) participated in a press conference with fellow women members, Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, to announce the House reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
"Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is a key priority and I am proud to put my full support behind this legislation," said Buerkle. "As a longtime supporter and volunteer of Vera House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence in my district, I understand the importance of this legislation in preventing domestic violence and sexual assault and in supporting victims of these heinous crimes.
"Over the last four weeks I have worked closely with the House leadership to ensure this legislation builds upon the Senate proposal and I am proud to say we have achieved our goal. The House proposal will:
* Provides for a five-year reauthorization of VAWA at the same funding levels as the Senate bill.
* Increases resources for sexual assault investigations, prosecutions, and victim services (30% compared to the Senate's 20%), to bring those resources in proportion with victimization rate.
* Requires that 75% of funding under the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 is dedicated to testing rape kits to reduce the backlog.
* Increases maximum penalties under federal stalking laws.
* Promotes educational awareness to prevent violence and improve services for young victims by funding state rape prevention education programs and enhancing campus domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking programs.
* Improves emergency and transitional housing services for victims, enhances immigration laws to protect victims of violence, and streamlines and consolidates some grants for maximum benefit.
* Increases fiscal responsibility and transparency in grant administration and ensures that maximum funding goes to victim programs by implementing accountability measures for grantees, capping DOJ salaries and administrative costs, and prohibiting the use of grant funds to lobby governments regarding the award of grant funding.
"The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has strong bipartisan support and I will continue to work for its swift passage."