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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Speaker, first of all, let me thank the gentlewoman from Florida, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee herself, for yielding me time.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to cosponsor H.R. 4970, and I want to again thank my colleague from Florida, Sandy Adams, for her work on this legislation.

H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012, provides funding for VAWA grant programs for 5 years at the same levels as the Senate-passed bill. There are only a few minor differences between this House bill and the Senate bill.

H.R. 4970 doesn't include language to provide special protected status to certain categories of people because they are already covered under VAWA. H.R. 4970 doesn't include language to allow Indian tribes to prosecute non-Indians because that is unconstitutional. H.R. 4970 does include provisions that prevent fraud and abuse in the immigration process.

This bill authorizes hundreds of millions of dollars for valuable services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Those who have supported VAWA in the past should be eager to support this legislation today.

Violence against women doesn't occur along party lines, and neither should reauthorization of these programs. Instead of working with Republicans in a bipartisan effort to protect women from domestic violence, rape, and stalking, some Democrats have chosen to place partisan posturing above the urgent needs of victims of violence.

If Members choose to oppose this bill for political reasons, that's their decision; but there is no good reason to oppose this bill for substantive reasons. A vote against this bill, in my judgment, is a vote against common sense and a vote against helping abused women.

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