Bonamici Votes Against Inadequate Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) today voted against a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because of provisions that severely weaken the effectiveness of the existing law.
The VAWA was first passed in 1994 and has been consistently reauthorized with strong bipartisan support. For nearly two decades, VAWA has protected and empowered women and victims of domestic violence. The bill passed by the House today would eliminate protections for immigrants dependent upon and exploited by their spouses, keeping them trapped in violent relationships. It fails to correct jurisdictional gaps that allow some perpetrators of sexual violence against Native American women to go unprosecuted. And it fails to adequately protect LGBTQ victims of domestic violence.
“There has been a drop in annual rates of domestic violence since passage of the Violence Against Women Act, but we still have work to do. Alarmingly, one in four women and one in seven men have been victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes,” Congresswoman Bonamici said on the House floor. “The current bill is not the way to move forward.”
Because the bill was introduced without the opportunity for Members to offer amendments, Congresswoman Bonamici urged House Leadership to consider alternate legislation. For example, the Senate companion bill passed with bipartisan support late last month; it maintains and enhances many of the VAWA protections across all communities.
“Every time we reauthorize an Act of Congress, we have an opportunity to improve,” concluded Congresswoman Bonamici. “Improvement—not further harming victims—should be our focus with VAWA.”
To watch Congresswoman Bonamici’s speech on the House Floor, click here.