Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I never could have anticipated speaking in opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, and it's unfortunate that we've come to this point, but here we are. This comes after more than a year of bipartisan efforts to put together a comprehensive, effective, and much-needed VAWA draft. But Republicans in the Senate and then in the House decided to ignore the recommendations of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and advocacy groups on the ground and push a version of VAWA that endangers immigrant women and children, ignores the needs of our native communities, and perpetuates discrimination against LGBT victims. That is why hundreds of victim services organizations oppose this bill, and I stand with them today.
At the Women in Distress shelter in my district, there has been a 39 percent increase in requests for services over the last year. Women need us now more than ever, and this is not the time to allow for discrimination or helping only some victims of domestic violence. This is the time to take a stand.
As lawmakers, we speak for the voiceless, and today I speak united with my colleagues in opposition to this shameful bill.