Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act

Floor Speech

By:  Joe Baca, Sr.
Date: May 16, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 4970, this misguided GOP reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Unfortunately, this bill does not do enough to protect the well-being of all women. I say again that it does not do enough to protect the well-being of all women.

This reauthorization jeopardizes the safety of our Native American women and also the safety of many undocumented women. Neither the manager's amendment nor the underlying bill addresses the problems that face Indian country. Instead of empowering tribal police and courts to stop domestic violence, this legislation unfairly places the burden on Native victims. Many of the victims of domestic violence that live on the reservations are unable to hire legal counsel and can't travel hundreds of miles to Federal courts to petition for protection orders.

We must protect sovereignty. We must respect sovereignty. Tribal courts are the best authorities to issue domestic violence orders of protection on reservations.

Let's stop this partisan bill. Let's work together on a new approach that values the safety of Native Americans and undocumented individuals in a bipartisan fashion.