Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Wednesday warned that the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act could die in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The VAWA, originally passed in 1994 and reauthorized twice since, provides funding to local communities to improve their response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The federal grants from the law support police training, victim services, transitional housing, and legal assistance.
“Time is running out,” Leahy said on the Senate floor. “There are only a few weeks left in this legislative session before election year politics takes over and Congress comes to a standstill. There are critical improvements in the Leahy-Crapo Reauthorization Bill that will not take effect unless Congress acts.”
The Senate approved the Violence Against Women Act by a 68-31 vote in April, with 15 Republicans voting yes. But the Republican-led House has refused to take action on the Senate bill. Instead, House Republicans passed their own version of the bill which omits provisions related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, immigrant and Native women and men.
“Victims should not be forced to wait any longer,” Leahy said. “They will not benefit from the improvements made by the Senate bill unless both houses of Congress vote to pass this legislation. The problems and barriers facing victims of domestic and sexual violence are too serious for Congress to delay. Domestic and sexual violence knows no political party. Its victims are Republican and Democrat, rich and poor, young and old. Helping these victims, all these victims, should be our goal.”
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube on July 11, below: