Congressman Beto O'Rourke released the following statement after voting to pass S. 47, legislation to strengthen and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The legislation passed the House on a bipartisan 286-138 vote and will now go to President Obama, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
"I was proud to cast my vote to strengthen VAWA and join a bipartisan coalition to send the bill onto the president," said O'Rourke. "Today's vote proves that when our political parties work together we can break the gridlock and do what is right for our country. Since 1994, VAWA has protected victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and trafficking and because of today's vote, those protections will now extend to LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims."
Representative O'Rourke voted against a substitute amendment to S. 47 that would have stripped provisions aimed at protecting LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims. That amendment failed.
Among other provisions, S.47 will provide for more rape kits as well as a national registry of forensic evidence from sexual assault cases; strengthen criminal anti-trafficking statutes; provide for temporary housing for victims; and address domestic violence on American college campuses.
Representative O'Rourke is a cosponsor of H.R. 11, the House version of S. 47. On Tuesday, O'Rourke sent a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to bring an un-amended version of S. 47 to the floor for a vote.