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Mr. LOWENTHAL. Madam Speaker, I stand here today to urge my colleagues to bring the Senate-version of the Violence Against Women Act--a bill that would provide critical services to all victims of domestic abuse--to the House floor.
We are faced with two versions of this bill--a GOP House bill that waters down protections and a Senate bill that provides equal protections.
As for the altered House version, which clearly rejects the equal protections outlined in the Senate version ..... it is unfair, unjust, and unacceptable.
The House substitute removes all references to ``gender identity'' and ``sexual orientation,'' despite clear evidence revealing that domestic and sexual violence affects LGBT victims at equal or greater levels than the rest of the population.
Rather than give tribes the authority they need to protect Indian women, the House substitute limits tribes to charging an abuser with misdemeanors punishable by no more than one year in prison, even if the abuser has committed rape, a vicious assault, or another serious violent crime.
Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill jeopardizes domestic abuse survivors by including a provision that would allow immigration judges to use unreliable evidence to deport persons who have been convicted of domestic violence charges.
I urge the rejection of the GOP House bill and the reauthorization of the Senate version of VAWA. The Senate version will make sure our LGBT brothers and sisters receive appropriate care when they are victimized; it will assure that immigrants, striving proudly toward citizenship, will not have to hide behind their abusers in fear of deportation; and, we can make sure that the three out of five American Indian women who will experience domestic violence in their lifetime can have the peace of mind to know that their abusers will not be given a way out of prosecution.
Equal protection should never be open to political gamesmanship. Equal protection is simply the right thing to do.
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