The National Organization for Women lauds today’s Senate vote to pass an inclusive and long-overdue reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Despite efforts by a handful of misguided Republicans to undermine the bill’s important provisions, the Senate reauthorized the act with a bipartisan vote of 78-22, sending it to the House for immediate action.
Like the version passed by the Senate in the last Congress, S. 47 extends its protections and improved access to services to students, those in need of housing, immigrant women, LGBT individuals and Native American women living on tribal lands. These underserved victims experience sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking at similar if not higher rates than other survivors, and they often struggle to obtain services, legal protections and basic justice.
VAWA faces tougher opposition in the House, where a radical fringe still controls the Republican leadership. All indications are that majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and others will continue their shameful efforts to delay passage of the bill, or will try to push through a measure that would leave Native American and immigrant women, LGBT victims and others at risk. These lawmakers need to stop ignoring the daily shootings, burnings, druggings, beatings, rapes and assaults, and recognize the need for improving VAWA to help law enforcement, community service providers and public officials do their jobs.
We call on the House to take up and pass Rep. Gwen Moore’s (D-Wis.) bill (H.R. 11), which mirrors the bipartisan Senate bill and already has nearly 200 sponsors. There are many moderate House Republicans who should be sponsors of H.R. 11, including the 17 Republicans who recently wrote to House Republican leaders calling on them to pass an inclusive VAWA as soon as possible.
The time for delay is over. Let’s recognize that all women matter, and pass the inclusive version of VAWA now.