Idaho Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed Senate passage Tuesday of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), a bipartisan bill cosponsored by a total of 62 Senators which won 78 votes on the Senate floor. The measure now goes to the House for consideration.
"For nearly two decades, this legislation has served as the centerpiece of our nation's commitment to end domestic, dating and sexual violence," Crapo said. "This Act will provide critical services to the victims of violent crime as well as agencies and organizations that provide important aid to those individuals. If we can help prevent even one instance of domestic violence, then our work has been worthwhile. I commend my colleagues and those who have worked tirelessly to get this legislation reauthorized."
The bill, which reauthorizes the landmark Violence Against Women Act which was enacted nearly two decades ago, strengthens and improves existing programs that assist victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The measure closely mirrors the bipartisan legislation approved by the Senate last year, and seeks to protect all victims of sexual and domestic violence. The Senate approved the Leahy-Crapo bill in April 2012, but Congress did not complete action on the measure.
"There is strong, bipartisan support for VAWA reauthorization, and together we can finally finish what we started last year," said Leahy, the lead author of the VAWA bill. "We are deeply indebted to the women and men around the country who have been working with us and have been steadfast in their commitment to the victims and to our efforts to combat domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault."
The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994. It was reauthorized in 2000 and again in 2005, each time with bipartisan support. The law expired in September 2011. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act approved by the Senate Tuesday provides a five year authorization for VAWA programs, and reduces authorized funding levels by more than $135 million, or 17 percent, from the law's 2005 authorization.