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

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 83 provides for a structured rule for consideration of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The rule also provides for consideration of one substitute amendment to this underlying legislation. This process ensures there's ample discussion on both options presented to the House, to give Members, both the minority and the majority, the opportunity to participate in these debates.

I support the rule, and I hope my colleagues will support it as well because, by supporting and passing this resolution, we'll be able to move on to debating the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

As a former law enforcement officer who spent 38 years fighting against all types of violence, I have seen the evils and cruelty of domestic violence issues firsthand. That's why I also volunteered with and even served on the board of directors for the Dawn Center, which is a refuge for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Hernando County, Florida.

With these sorts of experience, I know and understand how important grant programs like these authorized by the Violence Against Women Act are to law enforcement agencies fighting domestic violence, the advocates serving the victims of domestic violence, and most importantly, the victims themselves.

Violence against women is unacceptable in any terms. It should be unacceptable to everybody in this room, regardless of your gender, regardless of your sexual orientation, and regardless of your age. I hope it's that obvious.

The rule we have before us today provides the House the ability to consider measures that would help provide stakeholders with the tools they need to combat this terrible crime.

If House Resolution 83 passes, then tomorrow the House will debate two separate versions of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. We will have 1 hour debate on the underlying bill, which passed the Senate just 15 days ago.

We'll also spend 20 minutes debating a Republican alternative to the Senate bill. At the end of the debate, we will vote first on the Republican alternative to the Senate bill, and if that House amendment fails, then we'll have an up-or-down vote on final passage of the Senate reauthorization. It's that simple.

These options offer two separate and distinct visions on how the Federal Government can help aid in the fight against domestic violence.

I can say that, during my time as sheriff, I never saw a single Federal domestic violence case ever prosecuted, but I know the Federal dollars went to the States and counties to help combat these types of crimes. I also know that victims of all genders and sexual orientations found shelter and safety in places like the Dawn Center because of grants like those authorized in the Violence Against Women Act.

For all those reasons, I know this a debate we need to have. That's why I'm proud to stand here today sponsoring a rule that lays the options out on the table, provides for vigorous and enthusiastic discussion of those options, and ultimately, let's the people's House work its will.

I encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the rule, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I support this rule and encourage my colleagues to support it as well.

Every day, people flee their homes because of violence they suffer at the hands of a domestic partner. If there's something we can do to stop that violence to save those women and children, then we need to do it. Inaction is unacceptable. I've seen the consequences of doing nothing too many times when it comes to domestic violence.

We have before us a rule that provides the House with multiple options on how we take a stance against domestic violence right here and right now. We may not agree on which of these two visions is the best one, but I think we can all agree that something must be done. That's why I say to you, Mr. Speaker, support the rule before us today. If you want to do something, anything, then you need to start with voting for the rule. That's the first step. That's what we need to pass first and foremost so we can debate those options.

Some folks here will like the Senate's vision of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act more than they like the House alternative. Others have problems with the Senate bill and think the House's plan is the way to go forward. Either way, if you want to take a stand against violence against women, then you need to support this rule.

This rule is how we move to the next step, to debate the options before the House to ensure that law enforcement departments, organizations like the Dawn Center back home, and victims of domestic violence can get the support that they so desperately need.

There are those who want to confuse this with another issue before this House, but this is the issue that we have today, the issue on domestic violence, the Violence Against Women Act.

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