Washington's partisanship breakdown hit rock bottom this week as Congress continued to feud over re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act, an important measure that supports victims and survivors of domestic violence. Up until now, the Violence Against Women Act has always passed with strong support from both sides of the aisle. In response, Cheri Bustos, Democratic candidate for Congress, today expressed disappointment and concern for Washington's misplaced priorities and the real implications on Illinois families.
"It is a tragedy that an issue as sensitive to our communities as domestic violence is suddenly an opening for political brinksmanship," said Cheri Bustos, candidate for Congress. "How can Illinois families have good faith in Washington when Congress is tearing apart the Violence Against Women Act, which isn't and shouldn't be political? Instead of standing up for what's right, incumbent Congressman Schilling fell into line behind his Party and partisan colleagues in Washington and he's failed us. We have to have true leadership in Washington and that means fixing our priorities so that we can find common ground for the good of all our families."
Since the Violence Against Women Act's enactment, annual incidents of domestic violence have dropped by more than 50 percent. Incumbent Congressman Bobby Schilling recently opposed considering reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in the House.
Republicans Voted Against Considering the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. On March 28, 2012, House Republicans voted against considering a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI). [H Res 597, Vote #139, 3/28/12]
Republicans Blocking Violence Against Women Act. "The once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives Last month on the conservative Web site Townhall.com, the conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly called the Violence Against Women Act a slush fund "used to fill feminist coffers' and demanded that Republicans stand up against legislation that promotes "divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men." [New York Times, 3/15/12; Mother Jones,3/20/12]
Violence Against Women Act Expired on September 30, 2011. "The measure to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act would provide services, including transitional housing and legal assistance, to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The 1994 law, which has been reauthorized twice before, expired Sept. 30." [Bloomberg News, 3/16/12]