Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today called on the House Republican majority to hold a vote on the Senate-approved bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The law has not been in effect since 2011, when House conservatives refused to renew it.
House Republicans are expected to bring up a renewal bill for a vote this week that does not include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered Americans, Native American women, or immigrant women. The final Senate version -- which passed 78-22 on Feb. 12 with support from 23 Republicans -- includes those protections as well as amendments to the original bill that strengthen anti-human trafficking efforts and address the nationwide backlog of DNA analysis kits for rape cases.
"When Senate Republicans were presented with a strong bill that truly addresses the issue, many of them voted for it," Grijalva said. "My Republican House colleagues should have the same courage. We need a vote on the Senate-approved version to put everyone on record and to pass this bill as soon as possible."
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) introduced HR 11 earlier this Congress, which closely follows the original Senate version of the renewal bill. Grijalva is a cosponsor of HR 11, but says he supports a House vote on the amended version passed by the Senate because it includes even stronger protections.
"Women can't wait for Republicans to decide they're an interest group worth listening to," Grijalva said. "This is not a partisan issue. Let's get this done now before any more avoidable violence occurs."