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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. ADAMS. Madam Speaker, I yield 10 seconds to myself just to point out that the survey that we've heard about was received back, and the complaint was the lack of data that it received. I will remind my colleagues on the other side that this bill and the current law protects all victims.

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Mrs. ADAMS. If the gentleman would yield, I can say that I do, and I know that we have a list of them.

I will tell you, Mr. Conyers, that I have sat quietly and tried to behave here, but I am offended when I hear that this does not protect victims. I am offended when I hear that we are politicizing something that was politicized on the other side in the other Chamber and by the other side of the aisle.
So I have very much concern about that because, as someone who has been in the situation, who has been on the scenes of these crimes, we are trying to reauthorize something that is very important to victims across our Nation--victims, not politics. And that's where I stand on this issue.

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Mrs. ADAMS. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let me first clarify. The bill requires that U visa holders actually assist law enforcement. Current law does not. Let's make that very clear. The other thing is we do want them to cooperate because we do want those perpetrators off the streets. We want to make sure they're off the streets so that no other victim is victimized.

In the earlier version of the bill, I was very concerned about: What about the next victim? If we do this and we don't address this, what about the next victim? Which victim doesn't make it out of that house? And I've heard my colleagues on the other side talk about how we're trying to do something because of immigration. No. We're trying to do something to protect the victims and the next victims if we don't get the circle of violence stopped. It always repeats itself.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. ADAMS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I would just say that I agree that all victims need

to be covered, and that is what this piece of legislation does. We do not segment out. We do not pit victim against victim. It is all victims.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. ADAMS. Madam Speaker, Democrats in Congress and others have been accusing Republicans for months for waging a war on women. We've been called antivictim, elitist, homophobic, and racist. These ridiculous attacks stop now--right here, right now. It's a shame, really. We've always had a bipartisan vote on this issue. It has always been a bipartisan issue, but this year, it has turned into an election year politic.

The Violence Against Women Act was bipartisan legislation when it was enacted in 1994 and when it was reauthorized by a Republican-controlled House in 2000 and in 2006. Instead of coming together to reauthorize grant programs to help victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have created a phony war on women to score political points. These attacks are unfortunate and divisive. Domestic violence knows no political or socioeconomic boundaries. Neither should legislation to fund these important programs.

Critics of this bill outright dismiss the dozens of good, broadly bipartisan things that this bill does in its nearly 200 pages of text, and they have chosen to focus their attention on a handful of things it doesn't do. So let's be real about what the bill does:

It reauthorizes the VAWA grant programs for 5 years at the same levels as the Senate-passed bill. That's over $680 million a year in Federal funds to support these programs, and this is on top of the increase in funding for these programs that were adopted just last week by this House in the CJS appropriations bill.

It sets aside specific funding for sexual assault investigations, prosecutions, and victim services as well as reauthorizes State rape prevention education programs, programs to promote educational awareness to prevent violence and to improve services for young victims. The bill also improves emergency and transitional housing services for victims.

This bill provides greater protections to Indian women by designating domestic violence tribal liaisons within the U.S. Attorney's Offices, and it creates a new provision to allow victims of domestic violence or Indian tribes on behalf of victims to seek protection orders from U.S. district courts against Indian or non-Indian abusers.

When I made the decision to pack what few belongings I could carry and leave with my daughter to escape an abusive relationship, all I cared about was protecting my daughter and providing her a safe and healthy life. In my years of service in law enforcement, not once did a domestic assault or rape victim question where the help was coming from or which political party or organizations endorsed the law that made that funding possible.

The reason for that is this: This bill isn't about Washington politics. It's about people's lives.

If you vote against this bill today, you will vote to deny help to millions of victims. Opponents are willing to sacrifice helping millions of American women escape their abusers in the name of political gamesmanship, so I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the motion to recommit and ``yes'' on the final passage.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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