News Releases

Republicans Once Again Block Violence Against Women Act

Aug 01 2012

Republicans block Sen. Murray as she attempts to move inclusive Senate VAWA to the House of Representatives

WATCH Sen. Murray’s speech.

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) expressed her strong disappointment that Republicans blocked efforts to move the Violence Against Women Act,  bipartisan, inclusive legislation which passed the Senate three months ago with 68 votes, to the House of Representatives.  

“I am extremely disappointed that Republicans have decided to block this critical legislation that would help women across this country,” Senator Murray said. ““It’s time for Speaker Boehner to look beyond ideology and partisan politics. It’s time for him to look at the history of a bill that again and again has been supported and expanded by Republicans and Democrats – and end the delay. Because it’s taking a toll. Every moment the House continues to delay is another moment 30 million vulnerable women are left without the protections they deserve.”

Last week, Senator Murray took to the floor and shared stories of domestic violence survivors from Washington state who would be left out of the House version of VAWA, including a transgender survivor, an immigrant survivor, and a Native American survivor.  The new legislation Senator Murray is fighting for includes provisions protecting Native American women from domestic violence and sexual assault, and includes non-discrimination protection for all victims, regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech:

“Today, the women of the Senate – and the men who support the Violence Against Women Act – are here to give Speaker Boehner and Republicans another chance to do the right thing. Another chance to stop the delay. Another chance to provide peace of mind to 30 million women whose protections are at risk. Another chance to pass the inclusive, bipartisan Senate VAWA bill.”

“Here we are, back on the Senate floor, urging support for a bill that should not be controversial.  And just as we did last week, just as we’re doing today, and just as we’ll do in the coming weeks – we will be making sure this message resonates – loud and clear -- both here in D.C. and back in our home states. Because we are not going to back down –Not while there are thousands of women across our country who are excluded from the current law.”

“It’s time for Speaker Boehner to look beyond ideology and partisan politics. It’s time for him to look at the history of a bill that again and again has been supported and expanded by Republicans and Democrats – and end the delay. Because it’s taking a toll. Every moment the House continues to delay is another moment 30 million vulnerable women are left without the protections they deserve.”

“The women this bill protects have seen their lives destroyed by the cowardice of those who claimed to care for them. We have the chance to stand up for them where others haven’t.  But the only way we can help protect these women is to prove that we as a nation have the courage to do so. The courage to show them that discrimination has no place in our domestic violence laws. To do that we must pass the Senate’s inclusive, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech:

“Thank you, Mr. President.

“Today, the women of the Senate – and the men who support the Violence Against Women Act – are here to give Speaker Boehner and Republicans another chance to do the right thing.

“Another chance to stop the delay. Another chance to provide peace of mind to 30 million women whose protections are at risk. Another chance to pass the inclusive, bipartisan Senate VAWA bill.

“Mr. President, the bipartisan, Senate bill passed almost 100 days ago by a vote of 68-31.

“15 Republicans – let me repeat that – 15 Republicans - joined us that day.

“And they did so because they know the history of this bill.

“They know that every time it has been reauthorized it has consistently included bipartisan provisions to address women that are not being protected.

“They know that domestic violence protections for all women shouldn’t be a Democratic or a Republican issue. 

“But here we are, back on the Senate floor, urging support for a bill that should not be controversial.  

“And just as we did last week, just as we’re doing today, and just as we’ll do in the coming weeks – we will be making sure this message resonates – loud and clear -- both here in D.C. and back in our home states.

“Because we are not going to back down –

“Not while there are millions of women across our country who are excluded from the House version of the bill.

“Mr. President, the numbers are staggering: 1 in 3 Native women will be raped in their lifetimes, 2 in 5 of them victims of domestic violence, and they are killed at 10 times the rate of the national average.

“And these shocking statistics aren’t isolated to one group of women– 25-35% of women in the LGBT community experience domestic violence in relationships, and 3 in 4 abused immigrant women never entered the process to obtain legal status -- even though they were eligible -- because their abuser husbands never filed their paperwork.

“This should make it perfectly clear to our colleagues in the other chamber that their current inaction has a real impact on the lives of women across America affected by violence.

“Where a person lives, their immigration status, or who they love should not determine whether or not perpetrators of domestic violence are brought to justice. 

“Mr. President, last week the New York Times ran an editorial on this bill that gets to the heart of where we are.

“It began by saying that ‘House Republicans have to decide which is more important: protecting victims of domestic violence or advancing the harsh antigay and anti-immigrant sentiments of some on their party’s far right. At the moment, harshness is winning.’”

“But the editorial also made the point that it doesn’t have to be this way.

“It pointed out that ‘In May, fifteen Senate Republicans joined with the chamber’s Democratic majority to approve a strong reauthorization bill.’”

“And finally it ends with what we all know it will take to move this bill forward.

“Leadership from Congressman Boehner.

“And Mr. President, today the effort we started here in the Senate last week – an effort that will continue for as long as it takes – is a call for the very same thing.

“Leadership.

“It’s time for Speaker Boehner to look beyond ideology and partisan politics.

“It’s time for him to look at the history of a bill that again and again has been supported and expanded by Republicans and Democrats – and end the delay.

“Because it’s taking a toll.

“Every moment the House continues to delay is another moment 30 million vulnerable women are left without the protections they deserve.

“Mr. President, the women this bill protects have seen their lives destroyed by the cowardice of those who claimed to care for them.

 

“We have the chance to stand up for them where others haven’t.

“But the only way we can help protect these women is to prove that we as a nation have the courage to do so.

“The courage to show them that discrimination has no place in our domestic violence laws.

“To do that we must pass the Senate’s inclusive, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act.”