Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) released the following statement today after the 112th Congress ended, and House GOP leaders failed to advance the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
"As we open the 113th Congress, I am thoroughly disappointed at the 112th Congress' inability to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The House Republican leadership has isolated victims of domestic and sexual violence, through its refusal to take up and pass the Senate's bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill. While the Republicans continue to play political theater, millions of victims of violence in America will continue to have access to fewer resources from state and local governments, and domestic violence service providers."
Since first signed into law in 1994, Congress has reauthorized VAWA twice on a bipartisan basis. Since its enactment, cases of domestic violence have fallen by 67 percent, and more than one million women have used the justice system to obtain protective orders against their batterers.
"It is truly unconscionable that for the first time since 1994, Congress could not reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act with bipartisan support. The Senate version of VAWA, which passed within their chamber with 68 votes, would have extended VAWA's protections to reach an additional 30 million women."
The Senate version of VAWA would have strengthened the federal government, states, law enforcement, and service provider's ability to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. It would have also extended domestic and sexual violence protections to Native-Americans and the LGBT communities.
"As we begin a new session of Congress, we must continue to work vigorously with Congressional leadership and members of the House Judiciary committee to ensure that a strong and inclusive version of VAWA passes the House. The Violence Against Women Act must protect all victims of sexual and domestic violence, not just some. It's time to put the right-winged partisan politics aside and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act."