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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of S.47, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. VELÁZQUEZ. I want to thank the gentlelady from New York for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, twice in two decades Members of both parties have crossed party lines to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Yet this week we are considering a partisan bill that excludes some victims based on sexual orientation or immigration status. Does abuse not ``count'' if the victim happens to be a gay man or a lesbian? What if the victim is an undocumented worker?

Here are some facts my GOP colleagues may be unaware of: 40 percent of gay men experience domestic abuse, as do 50 percent of lesbian women. For undocumented women, abuse rates are slightly higher than the rest of the population, but go unreported for fear of deportation. Those are millions of people and thousands of New Yorkers who are being hurt. This legislation adds insult to their injury by basically saying because of who you are, we won't help you.

I hope my Republican colleagues agree that that is not the message we want to send. Vote ``no'' on the rule and the underlying bill so we can approve a real Violence Against Women Act that protects all victims equally. Shame on us. This should not be a partisan issue.


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