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Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FARR. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Edwards, for your leadership before you even became a Member of Congress, but especially tonight to lead this discussion.

I can't believe what we're about to do tomorrow in a vote to reauthorize. I was here in 1994 when we were so proud of creating this historical legislation to protect women against violence. It wasn't some women; it was all women. And now we're on the verge, 18 years later, of saying, well, let's change that.

What's so appalling about it is we're going to take that in a debate tomorrow in this room, where every time we're in session we start that session by getting up and taking a pledge to that flag behind you saying ``justice for all.'' That's our role. We're elected here to bring about justice for all.

We just had a census in the United States. In that census, we didn't just count some people because they were citizens, some people because they were rich, some people because they were this or that or had an education. We counted every living being in the United States. Why? Because the laws of this country are supposed to be protecting and enhancing and providing a quality of life for every living being. Now we're on the verge, in an election year--when the majority of voters in this country are women--to say to the women of this country, Oh, by the way, we're going to start taking back some of the provisions that have protected you.

You know, I rise, as Mr. Garamendi did before me, we rise as brothers, as husbands, as fathers, as a grandfather. In every one of those situations, the brother is because I have a sister, the husband is

because I have a wife, the father is because I have a daughter, and the grandfather is because I have a granddaughter. My world in politics is about their lives and the future and growing up in the great country of the United States of America.

So here we are with this law that we passed back in 1994. We reauthorized it. We didn't have takeaways when we reauthorized that law in 2000. We didn't take away things when we reauthorized it in 2005. And now we're in 2012 and the vote before the Congress is: Let's take away some stuff. Why? It doesn't make any sense at all.

Why do you say, well, you can exclude Native Americans? Why? Aren't they? They're Americans. They're Native Americans. They're probably more American than anybody. Take away rights that those women have been given and now are being taken away.

Noncitizen women? Noncitizen women. Those are a lot of immigrants. It doesn't matter whether you have a green card or no card, taking away your rights to complain about violence.

To those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, they're individuals. You take away their rights? Shame.

It's an election year. Women are voting. I hope they will wake up and understand that the Congress, led by the Republican leadership in this House, is about to destroy the ability for people to access justice in a Congress and in a Nation where we pledge allegiance and pledge justice for all. Not tonight.

Thank you for having this special session.


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