The Feminist Majority deplores the passage of the Cantor/Adams VAWA Reauthorization bill by the House Judiciary Committee in a nearly straight party line vote. This House bill is not only VAWA Lite but harmful to many victims of violence. Only one Republican, Ted Poe (TX-2), joined the Democrats in voting no. The Committee, in denying consideration of the substitute bill of Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), essentially rejected what Vice President Biden (the principal author of the original VAWA) called the “real McCoy” VAWA Reauthorization which passed the Senate with a bipartisan 68-31 vote in late April.
The war on women’s issues continues; no wonder there is a gender gap in voting. We deplore the making of violence against women legislation a political football (2012 marks the first time that both Senate and House Committee votes on VAWA have been essentially party line).
The bill is particularly cruel to immigrant women survivors of violence because it eliminates their confidentiality in reporting by requiring immigration officials to interview the abuser and tell him about the complaint. Moreover, the bill guts the U visa process which enables survivors to stay in the US while the legal process against the abuser is being pursued. It also is harsh to Native American women when they are abused by non-Native Americans on tribal lands. It does not give Native American authorities the power to prosecute these non-Native abusers. More than 50 percent of Native women have non-Native spouses.
Finally, the Cantor/Adams bill denies LGBT survivors support necessary for victims of domestic violence. The GOP bill simply does not recognize that violence is violence and all victims deserve protection.
Before the Cantor/Adams bill, VAWA Reauthorization legislation, ever since it first passed in 1994, has always expanded coverage and services for the purpose of reducing violence. This is the first time a VAWA bill has been approved that narrows or restricts protections.