The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) will expire on Sept. 30 unless it is brought to a vote on the House floor. Currently, congressional gridlock and partisan politics are holding back the reauthorization bill for VAWA.
Enacted in 1994, VAWA provides federal funding for state and local programs to combat violence against women, including, funding for special police units focused on sex crimes. The reauthorization bill would expand past efforts, adding funding for transitional housing for women and children, for example.
Although the bill has bipartisan support, Republican leaders have not prioritized VAWA, and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) and other Democrats are pushing for a floor vote on the bill, delcaring violence against women an “epidemic problem.” The Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM), the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and the House Commerce Committee are among those holding the bill back, claiming the reauthorization process has interfered with their jurisdictional authority.