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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. NADLER. Madam Speaker, this is a partisan Republican bill that not only rejects the bipartisan reforms to VAWA that were passed in the Senate but that would roll back protections for immigrant women that exist in current law.

For example, with respect to immigration, the House Republican bill, even as amended by the manager's amendment, favors abusers by eliminating the requirement that abuser-provided evidence be investigated and corroborated before it can be used to deny victims protection. It also delays protection to battered victims by staying adjudications during pending investigations or prosecutions.

The bill also fails to fully address the astronomically high rates of domestic violence against Native American women. A major cause is jurisdictional. Tribal governments cannot take action against non-Native Americans who commit acts of domestic violence even on tribal land. The Senate bill, which passed with bipartisan support, would fix this problem. The House Republican bill ignores this issue.

Finally, H.R. 4970 fails to make VAWA fully inclusive. The bipartisan Senate bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the eligibility for grant programs under VAWA so that groups could focus on victims amongst this underserved population. The Senate bill would also include sexual orientation and gender identity as classes in the new VAWA antidiscrimination language. The House Republican bill fails to include these provisions.

The bottom line is that House Republicans have taken the issue of protecting women from violence, which used to be bipartisan, and have made it partisan--just like everything else. Maybe women across America should not be surprised, as this majority has been waging a war on them since the beginning of this Congress. But, my friends, we do not have to let this stand.

I ask my colleagues to join me in voting against this bill. Let us reject this partisan VAWA reauthorization and work, as the Senate did, on passing a bipartisan measure--or better yet, simply pass the very good, bipartisan Senate bill. We don't need a retrogressive House bill that goes back on existing protections. The Senate did a fine job on a bipartisan basis. We should pass its bill.


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