Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today called on the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass a bill that reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The House failed to pass the bipartisan bill before it expired at the end of last year.
"It is unthinkable that the House of Representatives allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire before the end of the year," Bennet said. "This bill passed the Senate with broad, bipartisan support as it has every time it has come up for a vote previously. The Senate bill makes critical reforms to ensure that resources are available for all women in our country and keeps in place critical programs that help victims of awful crimes such as rape and domestic violence. We cannot allow politics to get in the way of protecting our mothers, daughters, and grandmothers. It's time to end the intransigence in the House of Representatives and get this bill passed."
The Senate version of VAWA passed on April 26, 2012 with a bipartisan vote of 68-31. House leadership chose not to bring the Senate bill or its own version up for consideration and allowed the bill to expire at the end of the 112th Congress. The bill must be passed by both chambers in the 113th Congress before it can be sent to the president's desk to be signed into law.
The Senate-passed bill included a provision based on the bipartisan Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, or the Campus SaVE Act, which Bennet cosponsored. This measure would increase safety on college campuses by improving reporting of incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It would also increase transparency by improving information about schools' sexual violence prevention programs and disciplinary actions and ensuring that victims are aware of the rights and resources available to them.