Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today voted against H.R. 4970, the House Majority's Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization bill that lacks key protections for immigrant, American Indian, and LGBT victims of violence. H.R. 4970 passed the House by a vote of 222-205.
"Protecting all victims of domestic and sexual abuse is just too important to be a partisan issue. That is why I am so disappointed to see the House Majority break with decades of bipartisan work by introducing this version of VAWA. This legislation hurts victims of violence and abuse by rolling back current protections and failing to address serious gaps in safeguards and services. For example, immigrant women will lose protections that empower them to speak out against their abusers, meaning more women will silently suffer repeated violence and abuse. I think many people would agree that abusers should never be given more power than their victims," said Congresswoman Hirono.
"The bipartisan Senate bill recognizes that all victims of abuse--including immigrant, American Indian, and LGBT women--deserve support and protection. I hope to see that version of VAWA come to the House floor soon."
The U.S. Senate last month passed its bipartisan version of the Violence Against Women Act that included expanded protections for victims of domestic violence, such as
Increasing the number of visas available to immigrant victims of domestic violence.
Banning discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender victims of domestic violence.
Providing more authority to American Indian tribes to address domestic violence.
These important provisions are not in the House version of the bill.