Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today applauded the US House's passage of a broadly bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for five more years. Braley signed on last year as the first male cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2012, and he voted in favor of the bill that passed today.
Today's legislation also strengthens domestic violence protections for Native Americans by expanding the authority of tribes to protect women on their reservations and hold criminal perpetrators accountable.
"Renewing the Violence Against Women Act will help break the cycle of violence against women, and provide victims the care they need," Braley said. "Unfortunately, this type of violence is far too common and transcends politics, race, and religion.
"I'm especially happy about bipartisan improvements to the bill to expand protections of Native American women. Leaders like Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma have put partisanship aside to pass a bill that respects the sovereignty of tribal governments, and protects Native American women. For too long, domestic abusers on tribal lands have taken advantage of legal loopholes to evade accountability for their criminal actions. This bill closes those loopholes and strengthens the law.
"I urge the President to sign the Violence Against Women Act renewal into law as quickly as possible."
First signed into law in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act enhanced the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women and significantly strengthened penalties for offenders convicted of violent crimes against women. The law also required the federal prosecution of interstate domestic violence and sexual assault crimes, and guaranteed the interstate enforcement of protection orders. The annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50% since the law was originally enacted.
The Violence Against Women Act expired at the end of 2012; without Congressional action today, its important protections would have continued to lapse.
The legislation has already been approved by the Senate and heads to the President's desk for his signature.