Rep. Jim Costa called on House Republicans to abandon legislation that put politics above protections for women and children who are victims of domestic violence during consideration of H.R. 4970, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The law was originally enacted in 1994 and offers a wide range of services and support to victims of domestic abuse.
"As co-chairman of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus, I believe we should be working to approve legislation that adds, not strips, protections for victims of domestic abuse," said Costa. "Unfortunately, this partisan bill rolls back comprehensive protections for all vulnerable populations rather than reflecting the lessons we have learned from victims' rights advocates and local law enforcement. Now is the time to pass the Senate's bipartisan reauthorization and stop this charade."
Unfortunately, H.R. 4970 was approved today on a largely party-line. The original legislation won wide bipartisan support as have the two reauthorizations since including the most recent in 2005.
On April 26th, the Senate approved a bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act with a vote of 68 to 31. The Senate version would offer protections for all victims of domestic violence whereas the House version plays politics at the expense and safety of vulnerable populations.
Specifically, this legislation will remove protections for immigrant women, Native American women, and others who are victims of domestic abuse. Instead of expanding protections for victims this legislation rolls back previous provisions that have always received overwhelming bipartisan support.
Costa serves is the co-chair and co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus. The mission of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus is to elevate crime victim issues in Congress in a bipartisan manner without infringing on the rights of the accused, and to represent and to advocate before the Administration and within Congress on behalf of crime victims.