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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOLT. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be support this very good bill. I only wish it had been allowed on the House floor a year ago for a vote.

For the first time in years, the Congress is poised to pass a VAWA reauthorization that is worthy of the name. Finally, we will be providing real protections for a number of vulnerable populations among America's women.

Of course, this bill almost didn't make it to the House floor. The House majority was going to simply sit on S. 47 and offer their own VAWA substitute. After a massive public shaming, the majority backed down. They are still offering their own so-called substitute--which is a sham--but we will also have the chance to vote on the Senate bill, which is the true VAWA reauthorization.

This bill provides tangible, enforceable protections for LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The bill will help ensure the availability of services to all victims of domestic and dating violence, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. S. 47 also provides authority to Native American tribes to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators for a narrow set of crimes related to domestic, dating violence and violations of protecting orders. The Senate bill also adds stalking to the list of crimes for which victims can receive protection through the U-Visa program. Finally, S. 47 also includes authorizations for programs preventing human trafficking, sexual assault on college campuses, as well as additional resources to address rape kit backlogs.

Madam Speaker, this day has been entirely too long in coming, but I am pleased that it is finally here and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill and sending it to President Obama for his signature.


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