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Transaction Account Guarantee Program Extension Act - Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, in communities across our country, millions of Americans, unfortunately, find themselves placed in danger by the very people who are supposed to love, care, and protect them. Domestic violence brings hopelessness, depression, and fear into the lives of those who fall victim to it.

I rise this evening on behalf of our victims--they are our neighbors, family members, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers--as well as those people who are so careful in their desire to serve those who are subjected to domestic violence, to say that now--now--is the time for us to send to the President for his signature a bipartisan, commonsense Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill. We got caught in a lot of partisan bickering, and we failed to do that earlier this year. I would like to rectify that course.

Each year more than 2 million women in the United States fall victim to domestic violence. In Kansas, my home State, an estimated 1 in 10 adult women is domestically abused each year. Studies have shown that more than 3 million children witness domestic violence every year.

All of these victims depend upon services and care provided by VAWA grants and funding recipients who benefit from those grants. On a single day last year shelters and organizations in Kansas that are funded in part by this legislation served more than 1,000 victims, and similar organizations around the country serve more than 67,000 victims each day.

A few weeks back I visited one such organization, Kansas SAFEHOME. It is a tremendous organization that serves the greater Kansas City area. I have always believed we change the world one person at a time. What I saw in my visit to SAFEHOME was exactly that: making the difference in a person's life each and every day, one person at a time.

SAFEHOME provides more than a shelter for those needing a place to live to escape from abuse. They provide advocacy and counseling, an in-house attorney, and assistance in finding a job. The agency also provides education in the community to prevent abuse and further abuse. We often think it does not exist, and yet this organization is making clear that the prevalence of domestic violence is known and combated.

Each year SAFEHOME helps thousands of women and children reestablish their lives without violence. The employees and volunteers there are making that difference that is so important in the lives of so many.

After my visit to SAFEHOME, a Kansan posted a question on my Facebook wall. Mr. Bachman asked if I came away from my SAFEHOME visit with ``any honest sense of how current political game playing [in Washington] and proposed legislation compromises not only the work [SAFEHOME] does, but also aggravates the conditions that breed and sustain violence and hostility against women.'' The question was do we know what our failures in Washington, DC, actually cause in the lives of folks across my State and around the country.

The point this constituent makes is right on. Despite the important and honorable work these organizations are performing, they are faced with uncertainty regarding the level of funding and the support they will receive. We have gambled with the well-being of countless victims of domestic violence, and we have left these organizations in limbo and unable to provide the maximum amount of care possible.

None of us here--Republicans or Democrats--can in good conscience let this continue. The election is over, the results are in, and I am hoping the days of extreme partisanship that plagued the 112th Congress are now behind us. We must begin to unite as a Congress, and history is clear proof that we can unite over the Violence Against Women Act.

The passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and its two reauthorizations--one in 2000 and one in 2005--has been the result of and demonstrates that we can have successful bipartisan, bicameral efforts. In order for us to move forward on combating domestic violence and caring for its victims, we must set aside the divisive rhetoric that surrounded this debate. Of course, both sides--all of us--want to end discrimination and agree that shelters and similar grant recipients should provide services to everybody who needs them.

For anyone to suggest otherwise is not only disingenuous, but, more importantly, it is a waste of time. The millions of victims who depend on the services funded by VAWA deserve better from us; the American people we are here to serve deserve better from their representatives.

It is past time for the House and Senate and for the Democrats and Republicans to come together and approach this reauthorization as a reauthorization. It is not a major piece of legislation to overhaul the law as it exists but to reauthorize the programs that are currently in existence. We need to do so with a sense of urgency, of dedication to the cause, and a willingness to compromise.

If we do this, I am confident we can sort out the differences with respect to this bill and get it signed during this lameduck period. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and on both sides of this building to accomplish exactly that. The American people, the victims of domestic violence, and the shelters and support organizations that care for those victims of violence deserve that.

Mr. President, I yield back the remainder of my time.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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