The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) could be brought up in the House of Representatives as early as next week.
According to news reports, House Republican leadership are poised to bring VAWA to the floor for discussion. As of now it is unclear if they will bring the inclusive version passed by the Senate last week to the floor or if they will propose their own version of the bill. S. 47, passed by the Senate on a vote of 78 to 22, includes provisions expanding protections for LGBTQ individuals, Native American women, students, and immigrant women. Last year, the House refused to vote on the Senate version of VAWA and proposed the “Cantor/Adams” VAWA that did not included the expanded protections. Since neither bill was approved by both chambers of Congress, VAWA was not reauthorized in 2012, the first time the bill failed to be reauthorized since it was passed in 1994.
It is imperative that the House approves the inclusive Senate bill so that all victims of violence are protected. Various organizations have called on constituents to reach out to Representatives who have not signed on to the Senate version. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women issued a call to action on Thursday, saying “We must remind [the House leadership] that S. 47 has victim-centered support in the House from both parties and will pass if it comes to the House floor for a vote. Any effort to weaken or delay VAWA does not reflect the will of our country, of our Congress or the desperate need of victims in our homes and communities all across the nation. Survivors of violence cannot wait any longer!”
UPDATE: House leadership announces alternative to Senate bill.
Sources: NTFESDV Alert 2/21/2013; Roll Call 2/21/2013; Feminist Newswire 2/12/2013, 1/3/2013, 5/17/2012
United States Capitol in Autumn from Shutterstock