Congressman Tim Ryan today voted to support women by opposing the Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This legislation, originally passed in 1994, and reauthorized twice, has had bipartisan support until now. The VAWA transformed the nation's response to violence against women, and each reauthorization had improvements that strengthened the bill - including, in 2005, an amendment by Congressman Ryan authorizing grants to states for carrying out a campaign to increase public awareness regarding domestic violence against pregnant women. The bill passed today by House Republicans is the first version of this bill that actually rolls back protections that currently exist in public law.
"My vote today was difficult but necessary to make my Republican colleagues realize what is missing from this bill," said Congressman Tim Ryan. "We had a bipartisan Senate bill on the House floor, which included many necessary provisions not included in the House bill. Once again, my Republican colleagues have taken a historically bipartisan law and tried to force in the wedge of partisanship."
The Senate passed a bill last month that had strong bipartisan support from every Democratic Senator and 15 Senate Republicans, including all of the Senate GOP women. The House Republican bill removes the key provisions from the bipartisan passed Senate bill ensuring all victims are assisted regardless of religion, sexual orientation or if they are Native American. Just like on the Highway Bill, Republicans are abandoning the bipartisan consensus that has always existed on VAWA reauthorizations.
"Protecting woman should not be controversial. Reauthorizing The Violence Against Women Act is something we need to do--but it needs to be done responsibly. Let's pass the Senate bill--it's the right thing to do."