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Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Speaker, while I'm glad that we will have the opportunity to vote on Senate passed version of the Violence Against Women Act today, I can't believe that we have to stand here playing partisan political games with legislation meant to protect the most vulnerable among us.
Since the Violence Against Women Act first passed in 1994, it has had strong bipartisan support. Instead of passing the bipartisan Senate bill, a bill that received 77 bipartisan votes, including the vote of every woman Senator, the majority has decided instead to turn women's safety and security into another partisan political fight by offering their substitute. The statistics tell the chilling story. According to the CDC 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, on average 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. In New Jersey alone, there were 70,311 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2011.
The Violence Against Women Act has made great strides when it comes criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States. It shouldn't matter if a woman is an immigrant, or a member of the LGBT community, or a Native American. All women deserve the protections provided by VAWA.
Instead of strengthening the Senate language, the Majority's substitute waters down or completely erases provisions that would make sure that victims are not denied services because they are gay or transgender. It also fails to fully protect the confidentiality of immigrant women.
I reject that partisan approach. I urge my colleagues to vote no on the Republican substitute, and yes on the Senate bill.
Let's show the American people that despite our differences, bipartisanship is possible, and Congress can in fact get some common sense things done. We need legislation that lives up to its name, and lives up to the promises we have made to all women in this nation.
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