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Attempt to weaken Violence Against Women Act shameful


Location: Washington, DC

House should pass bipartisan Senate bill to extend protection for all women who are victims of domestic violence

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree today voted against a Republican sponsored bill that would gut key provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. She called on House Members to put politics aside and support a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate.

"This law was passed and renewed twice without a fight because reducing violence against women has always been something everyone can agree on, but this time Republicans in the House have decided they want to play politics with it," Pingree said.

Since the Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1994, domestic violence crimes have dropped by more than half. The law was reauthorized twice without a partisan fight and last month the Senate again reauthorized it, with bipartisan support including the votes of Senators Snowe and Colliins.

House Republicans are bringing their own version of the Violence Against Women Act up for a vote today, which weakens protection for immigrant women, women who are victims of domestic abuse on tribal lands and LGBT victims of domestic violence.

"For nearly twenty years the law has protected immigrant women from domestic violence and retaliation but the version of the bill the Republicans have introduced not only rolls back those protections, but would have government agents contact abusers and tell them their battered wives are seeking protection," Pingree said. "It's just plain shameful."

Pingree has cosponsored the Senate-passed version of the bill in the House and has called on Congressional leaders to put it up for a vote.

"The Senate bill strengthens the Violence Against Women Act and the House bill weakens it," Pingree said. "I guess the question comes down to just how much violence against women are politicians willing to accept?"

One in four women are victims of domestic violence and one out of five women have been raped during their lives.

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