U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Will Hurd (R-TX), and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) this week introduced a clean, one-year extension of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), landmark legislation to protect victims of domestic abuse. The current law expired in February when Democrats refused to work with Republicans to extend VAWA in the compromise funding bill.
House Judiciary Committee Democrats passed a controversial reauthorization of VAWA out of the Committee this week that is unlikely to pass the Senate and be signed into law. Davis, Stefanik, Hurd, and Stivers introduced a one-year extension in order to continue critical services to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence while Congress works on bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA.
"One of my first acts as a freshman lawmaker in 2013 was to send a letter to Republican leadership asking them to bring a bipartisan VAWA reauthorization to the floor," said Davis. "A month later, President Obama had a bipartisan bill sent to his desk. This bill is too important to be brought down by partisan politics. I urge Speaker Pelosi to follow the bipartisan history VAWA has had and bring this bill to the floor to extend these critical programs immediately."
"Since being signed into law in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has protected millions of women from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking," said Stefanik. "Given the proven and tangible results of this legislation, it would be nonsensical to fail to pass a clean reauthorization to ensure these critical protections for women across America continue. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to protect women, and I urge Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to set aside partisanship and bring this bill to the floor and pass it immediately."
"The safety of our communities and of our constituents is not a Republican or Democrat issue," said Stivers. "This is a proven program that protects women from heinous crimes, and the fact that it has lapsed is unacceptable. We need to put partisanship aside and pass a clean reauthorization of VAWA as soon as possible."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 3 women experience some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime in America. Programs authorized and funded under VAWA work to protect girls and women from these crimes. The programs provide funding to ensure safety and support for survivors, increase prevention efforts, expand educational awareness surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, implement training for health professionals and law enforcement, and to coordinate responses across agencies.