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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. CAPPS. I thank my colleague.

Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to the rule and to the underlying bill that will actually roll back protections for women across this Nation.

The Violence Against Women Act is a vital piece of legislation to be sure. It established a comprehensive response to prevent relationship violence, sexual assault, and stalking; to support survivors; and to hold perpetrators accountable. It is also a symbol that relationship violence and sexual assault is real and that it is unacceptable.

For the past 20 years, this law has been a shining symbol that Congress can put aside its petty differences and we can come together to do what is right for violence victims and survivors.

Now the bill before us tarnishes that symbol.

H.R. 4970 marks a backsliding in violence protections, leaving more women out in the cold without legal resources or social supports, just when they need it most.

And the issues are not just for immigrants or the LGBT community--although the way the bill before us ignores their pain is shameful--but also for women on college campuses, those in need of safe housing, tribal women. And that is why hundreds of groups across the country--service providers, law enforcement, health care workers--have come out against this bill.

Now we could address the problems in this bill if we were allowed an opportunity to vote on the Moore-Conyers amendment, which I cosponsored. The Moore-Conyers amendment mirrors the recently passed bipartisan Senate bill. But the House leadership unilaterally decided to block it from even coming to a vote. The majority has, once again, put rigid ideology over commonsense compromise, and this time at the expense of violence survivors and their families.

Reauthorization is critical for the Violence Against Women Act, but it needs to be done right. I urge the majority to drop the partisan politics, join a bipartisan coalition, and support these survivors.

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