Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin today condemned House Republicans for refusing to work in a bipartisan fashion to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act -- a law to protect women that has always enjoyed broad bipartisan support. Instead, Republicans pushed through a VAWA bill that actually weakens protections for certain victims of violence, and totally denies services to others.
"Republican obstructionism has reached a new low as they continue to choose confrontation over compromise and play politics with women's lives," said Baldwin. "Why would anyone refuse to work in a bipartisan manner to protect women and children from violence, if not for political gamesmanship?" Baldwin asked.
First passed in 1994, VAWA was landmark, bipartisan legislation to identify and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. It has been reauthorized twice since then without controversy. Last month, the Senate passed a strong, bipartisan bill by a vote of 68-31, with 15 Republicans voting yes.
"Over the years, I have heard many powerful stories from victims of violence and abuse in Wisconsin," said Baldwin. "These women have been through harrowing experiences and shown remarkable strength and courage. Many say the availability of services funded through VAWA saved their lives," Baldwin said.
Baldwin supported the "real VAWA," a bill introduced by Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Her legislation would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and ensure protections for all victims of violence and sexual abuse. House Republicans refused to bring that bill to the floor for a vote.
More than 300 organizations oppose the House GOP bill, including the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.