Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted the introduction by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, a bill to reinstate the law that protected women from domestic violence until the House Republican majority allowed it to lapse in 2011. Moore's bill comes a month after Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) allowed the 112th Congress to end without voting on a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization measure the Senate approved last April.
Moore's bill, designated HR 11, already has 158 cosponsors.
As reported late last year in The Hill newspaper, "VAWA has historically been an uncontroversial bill, but Congress failed to pass an extension and let the last measure expire in September of 2011. At issue is the expansion of protections under the law to Native American women, illegal immigrants and LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered] individuals. The Senate passed a bill earlier this year that expands protection to those three groups, while the House version, passed a month later, did not."
Moore's new version includes the same protections for Native American, LGBT and undocumented women as last year's Senate-approved version. A letter circulated in the House late last year urging passage of the Senate version included signatures from notable conservatives such as Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Rep. Jon Runyon (R-N.J.), who are expected to continue supporting passage in the new Congress.
The Senate is expected to take up its version -- a bipartisan effort similar to Moore's bill -- this week, and passage on Thursday is considered virtually certain.
"Republican leaders don't seem to care who gets in the way of their agenda, whether it's working families or battered women," Grijalva said. "There is simply no reason to hold up funding for domestic violence prevention. It's not an ideological issue. It has nothing to do with principle. Women can't wait for Republicans to decide they're an interest group worth listening to. Let's get this done now before any more avoidable violence occurs."