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Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. NADLER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Madam Speaker, this bill is about women. It is about our sisters and daughters. It is about combating violence that no human being should ever face--rape, assault, sexual assault, human trafficking.

By offering an amendment that will further delay and even endanger the passage of the bill, Republicans are not just standing up for the men who abuse immigrants or for the men who rape Native Americans; they are delaying justice and counseling and health care and protection for everyone. The Republican amendment would roll back protections for immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse by making it harder to obtain U visas. The new restrictions would deter undocumented immigrants from reporting assaults and from cooperating with police, leaving victims vulnerable.

The bipartisan Senate bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the eligibility for grant programs under VAWA, and it would include sexual orientation and gender identity as classes. The Republican amendment, by deleting these provisions, appears to say, if you are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, it's okay to beat you up, that VAWA will not help you. This is the Republican idea of equality in the 21st century.

Approval of the Republican amendment would delay the bill for weeks or months, or even kill the bill altogether, as it did in the last Congress. I hope that is not the true motive behind the amendment. However, the fact that Republicans in Congress have been waging a war on women from the moment they took over control of the House does make you wonder.

It is time to reject this cynical ploy and pass the Senate's bipartisan Violence Against Women Act reauthorization now without amendment. I ask my colleagues to join me in voting against the Republican amendment and for the Senate bill. We don't need a retrogressive House bill that goes back on existing protections and endangers passage of any bill. The Senate did a fine job on a bipartisan basis. We should pass its bill without delay and not engage in partisan retrogressive conduct.

Friends of VAWA Coalition Calls on the House to Defeat the Substitute to S. 47 and Pass the Bipartisan Senate Bill

Washington, DC--The 73 undersigned national organizations issued the following statement opposing the House Republican substitute for the bi-partisan Senate bill (S. 47), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes provisions to protect vulnerable communities, including Native American women, college students, and LGBT individuals:

The House Republican Leadership's bill puts a barrier to the protection of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Conversely, the Senate version of VAWA, which was adopted with strong bipartisan support (78-22), addresses gaps in current service programs that left Native American women, college students, LGBT individuals, and other vulnerable groups without vital protections.

Today, House Republican Leadership will offer a substitute to the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA (S. 47), eliminating these important provisions and weakening the Office of Violence Against Women. These omissions deny critical services to many victims and reinforce the perception of the Republican Party as hostile to the needs of women, college students, LGBT persons, and communities of color. The House substitute:

Limits the authority S. 47 provides to tribal authorities to prosecute non-tribal members who commit domestic violence or sexual assault crimes on tribal land. This makes it more difficult for Native American women to hold their abusers accountable. Native Americans are disproportionately affected by dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Eliminates provisions of the Senate bill that would require colleges and universities to keep students safe and informed about policies on sexual assault and enhance programs that help to prevent and combat sexual violence on college campuses.

Drops the anti-discrimination provisions from S. 47, which were designed to ensure that LGBT victims receive the services they need regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Studies have shown that LGBT individuals are victims of domestic and sexual violence at equal or greater levels than the rest of the population.

Even in today's polarized political climate, we should at least be able to agree that when we send our daughters and sons to college, they should be protected from stalking, date rape and sexual assault; that one-third of tribal women who have been the victims of rape or domestic abuse should have equal access to justice no matter who the perpetrator is; and, that domestic violence is still violence regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

It is critical that Representatives reject the exclusionary substitute bill and support passage of the bipartisan Senate bill. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice-President, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at 202-263-2880 or Sakira Cook, Senior Policy Associate, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at 202-263-2894 or or Norma Gattsek, Director of Government Relations, Feminist Majority at ngattsekgfeministorg or 703-522-2214.

AFL-CIO, African American Ministers in Action (AAMA), Alaska Federation of Natives, American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Federation of Government Employees, (AFL-CIO), American Federation of Teachers, (AFL-CIO), Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, Black Women's Health Imperative, Break the Cycle, Casa de Esperanza: National Latino Network for Healthy Families and Communities, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Communications Workers of America, (AFL-CIO), Community Action Partnership, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, Enterprising and Professional Women--USA.

Equal Justice Society, Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO), Feminist Majority, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality,, Human Rights Campaign, Institute for Science and Human Values, Inc., International Community Corrections Association (ICCA), International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women, International Union, (UAW), Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, Media Equity Collaborative, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Metropolitan Community Churches, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Association of Social Workers, National Black Justice Coalition, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

National Congress of American Indians, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council on Independent Living, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, National Immigration Law Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women's Law Center, People For the American Way, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc.

The Religious Institute, The United Methodist Church, (General Board of Church & Society), Ultra Violet, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Methodist Women, US Human Rights Network, US National Committee for UN Women, V-Day, WestCare Foundation, Wider Opportunities for Women, Women Enabled, Inc., Women's Action for New Directions (WAND), Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, (U.S. Section), Women's Law Project, YWCA USA.


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