[House Republicans today filed their version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which the House is scheduled to debate next week. The House version omits vital protections and bipartisan provisions that were included in the Senate bill authored by Senator Patrick Leahy, which was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate last week. Leahy worked closely with stakeholders and members from both parties to craft bipartisan legislation that won 78 votes in the Senate, including all women Senators, all Democratic Senators and a majority of Senate Republicans. Leahy issued the following comment on the House Republican version of this bill.]
"Next week, the House of Representatives plans to revert back to its partisan version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. The Republican House leadership has decided to replace the Senate-passed version with a substitute that will not provide critical protections for rape victims, domestic violence victims, human trafficking victims, students on campuses, or stalking victims. This is simply unacceptable and it further demonstrates that Republicans in the House have not heard the message sent by the American people and reflected in the Senate's overwhelming vote earlier this month to pass the bipartisan Leahy-Crapo bill. A majority of Republican Senators -- and every woman serving in the United States Senate -- supported it. The Senate-passed bill contains critical measures to protect vulnerable populations who have suffered too long from violence, including Native women, immigrants and members of the gay and lesbian community.
"I am confident that those of us who fought for an inclusive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act earlier this month that responds to the true needs of victims will continue the fight to protect victims of rape, domestic violence, human trafficking, and stalking. The decision by the Republican leadership of the House to take up a partisan substitute to the bipartisan, Senate-passed bill is an unfortunate step in the wrong direction and undermines our long-fought efforts to help these victims."