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Ms. BUERKLE. I rise this afternoon in support of the rule and the underlying bill in H.R. 4970. I am so pleased to stand here with my colleagues in support of this rule.
This is a particularly meaningful bill for me because, in 1994, when I graduated from law school, I became aware of a program that the Women's Bar Association had. That was 1994, and that's when the original VAWA was enacted. The program was that we could do pro bono work and work in our domestic violence shelter. For all of these many years, I have been involved in domestic violence. So it's particularly meaningful to me that the time when I first got involved in this--and it was thanks to a very courageous law school professor I had--that we now are reauthorizing VAWA that was originally from 1994.
Madam Speaker, I just become so distressed when I hear the allegations that there is a war on women. When we sat down and we began discussing VAWA, we sat down with the understanding that Americans deserve equal protection under the law. We are not going to single out. We are not going to distinguish one victim from another. Any person who is a victim of domestic violence is a victim of domestic violence. Beyond that, it should be of no concern.
However, I will say this--and my colleague Sandy
Adams has done such a magnificent job with this--when we began to have concerns after we dropped this bill last week, we went back to the table. We heard from Members who have large Native American populations in their districts and Members who are Native Americans with regard to the issue. We heard with regard to the illegal alien issue. We went back to the table and came forth with a manager's amendment to begin to address those issues. That's the right thing to do. That's what domestic violence victims should expect from this House--sit down, figure this out, and make sure we go forward with what is in the best interest of the victims. And that's what the House of Representatives did.
I strongly support this rule and the underlying bill.
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