Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) voted today against the House Republican version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, H.R. 4970. The bill reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for five years, but was opposed by over 300 advocacy organizations and individuals due to a reduction of protections for immigrant women, women on college campuses, and a lack of protections for tribal women and LGBT individuals. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 222-205.
“The simple truth is that the House Republican VAWA reauthorization rolls back protections for domestic violence victims and survivors,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “House Republicans stand poised to endanger victims by notifying their abusers and deterring immigrant victims from reporting crimes. To eliminate those protections for immigrant women or shut off access to services for LGBT victims is inconsistent with the spirit of the 1994 law and its subsequent reauthorizations.
“Domestic violence should never be a partisan issue. A comprehensive VAWA reauthorization must be bipartisan, build on current protections, and adhere to the advice of our service providers on service delivery and how law enforcement can protect victims properly. A bill that meets these needs has passed the Senate. Let’s take it up in the House.”
Congresswoman Edwards was the co-founder and executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She led the effort to pass the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act of 1994 signed into law by President Bill Clinton.