Mr. HINOJOSA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong opposition to H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which shifts the power into the hands of the abuser and moves away from longstanding bipartisanship on this issue.
In my view, a vote for H.R. 4970 is clearly an attack on the Violence Against Women Act, and I am deeply concerned that the manager's amendment to H.R. 4970 weakens current law and rolls back protections in the VAWA self-petition process, empowering abusers and harming battered immigrant spouses.
The manager's amendment rolls back U visa protections, denying protection to immigrant victims of serious crime and stripping police and prosecutors of a critical law enforcement tool. The manager's amendment fails to include provisions from the bipartisan Senate-passed bill to protect Native American women and includes language that may lead to further abuse. The manager's amendment fails, again, to include provisions of the bipartisan Senate-passed bill to protect LGBT victims from discrimination, and it weakens nondiscrimination employment protections.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote against H.R. 4970 and to work together in a bipartisan manner in order to improve and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.