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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BEN RAY LUJÁN of New Mexico. Madam Speaker, last Congress it was with great disappointment that, for the first time since the Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994, House Republicans failed to give us a vote and Congress failed to reauthorize this important legislation that has reduced domestic abuse and provided victims of violence with vital resources.

The effort to reauthorize VAWA failed, despite overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate, because House Republicans stripped the bill of critical provisions to help women, especially Native American women. Sadly, we are seeing this effort repeated on the floor today.

Once again, House Republicans are trying to weaken a bill that passed by a vote of 78-22 in the Senate in order to deny Native American women important protections. Sovereignty is not a bargaining chip. The Republican substitute is an attack on Native American women and does not respect sovereignty.

Studies have found that three out of five American Indian women will experience domestic violence; yet the Republican substitute makes it harder to prosecute abusers and is full of loopholes.

I urge my Republican colleagues to drop their opposition to the Senate bill and pass legislation that gives all women, including Native American women, vital protections against abuse.


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