Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) today blasted the House Republican majority reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which would strip away critical protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence:
"The Violence Against Women Act is the cornerstone of federal efforts to prevent domestic and sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable. That is why it has always received strong bipartisan support since enactment in 1994, just as the Senate reauthorization did when it passed last month.
"It is outrageous that the House majority is seeking to turn protection of women and families into a political football by stripping away protections for same-sex partners, immigrants, Native Americans, and others.
"Every member of our community deserves protection from domestic abuse and sexual violence. The House majority should take up the bipartisan Senate legislation, which maintains and expands protections that all women and families deserve.
Since the first federal Violence Against Women Act in 1994, VAWA has protected women and children from domestic abuse and sexual violence, held abusers accountable, and offered a lifeline to those trying to escape violence. It included grant programs to fund local organizations to ensure assistance for those seeking help, and it has been reauthorized several times with bipartisan support.
On April 26, the Senate passed a bipartisan VAWA Reauthorization by a strong bipartisan vote of 68-31, which maintains and expands the protections that have existed since 1994. The House Republican VAWA Reauthorization Bill passed yesterday on a largely party-line vote of 225-205.
More than 300 organizations oppose the House GOP bill, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Break the Cycle, Legal Momentum, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, YWCA USA, AAUW, Business and Professional Women's Foundation, National Women's Law Center, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Bar Association, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, Human Rights Campaign, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and National Congress of American Indians.
On April 2, Lowey was joined by Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore and Jane Aoyama-Martin, Executive Director of the Pace Women's Justice Center, which receives VAWA grants, to call for a responsible and bipartisan reauthorization.