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Watch video of Senator Murray’s speech.

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Thursday, September 13th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray gave a speech on the Senate floor urging the House to move forward with reauthorization of the Senate's bipartisan, inclusive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which passed the Senate with 68 votes in May. Senator Murray discussed the ways important provisions in the Senate version of the bill will protect 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. Senator Murray also shared stories she heard from constituents in Washington state over the August recess, and the ways this new legislation would protect them.

“For 18 years this bill has expanded protection for vulnerable women,” Senator Murray said. “For the last 139 days Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have put that legacy at risk. It’s time for them to do the right thing and pass the Senate’s inclusive, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act.”

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech:

“Today marks 18 years to the day since President Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act into law.  And since that day, this law has protected countless women across the country - as seen most directly by the fact that annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent.   But Madam President, today also marks a far less celebratory day in the history of this critical bill.  And that is because today is also the 139th day of delay by the House of Representatives since the Senate passed an inclusive, bipartisan VAWA bill by a vote of 68-31.”

I hope Speaker Boehner and my colleagues in the House hear this - we are not backing down and we will keep fighting. 139 days is inexcusable. One day is inexcusable. It’s time for Speaker Boehner to look beyond ideology and partisan politics. Their obstruction is taking a toll on women across this country.”

“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. These women cannot afford any further delay. Not on this bill.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech:

“Madam President.

“Today marks 18 years to the day since President Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act into law. 

“And since that day, this law has protected countless women across the country - as seen most directly by the fact that annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. 

“But Madam President, today also marks a far less celebratory day in the history of this critical bill.

“And that is because today is also the 139th day of delay by the House of Representatives since the Senate passed an inclusive, bipartisan VAWA bill by a vote of 68-31.

“It marks 139 days since House Republicans decided not to follow suit and to instead pass a version of this legislation that stripped vital protections included in the Senate bill – provisions that protect some of the most at-risk women in this country.

“It’s been 139 days since 15 Senate Republicans stood up to join with us to pass this legislation because they knew the history of this bill.

“They knew every time VAWA has been reauthorized it has consistently included bipartisan provisions to expand protections to women who were not previously covered.

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

“So I hope Speaker Boehner and my colleagues in the House hear this - we are not backing down and we will keep fighting. 139 days is inexcusable. One day is inexcusable.

“It’s time for Speaker Boehner to look beyond ideology and partisan politics. Their obstruction is taking a toll on women across this country.

“In fact, for Native and immigrant women, and LGBT individuals – every moment our inclusive legislation to reauthorize VAWA is delayed, is another moment they are left without the resources and protection they deserve.

“The numbers are staggering: 1 in 3 Native women will be raped in their lifetimes, 2 in 5 are victims of domestic violence, and Native women 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.

“And Madam President, while those numbers are frightening – what’s even tougher is when you sit down face to face with the women who are at risk of being left out of this bill.

“Over the August recess, I held roundtables in different corners of my state with women who have been trapped in abusive relationships.

“Many of them are from the communities of women that House Republicans refuse to extend these protections to.

“Through painful memories and many tears they told me about how they feel all alone.

“Numerous women who were immigrants talked about how they were scared for themselves or their children so they didn’t report their husbands or boyfriends.

“Tribal women talked about how not only they had been abused, but how they had then watched as their abuser did the same to other women on their reservation.

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

“These statistics 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 American 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. 

“These women cannot afford any further delay.

“Not on this bill.

“Madam President, we all know it will take to move this bill forward - leadership from Speaker Boehner

“And Madam today the effort we started here in the Senate in May – 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 both Republicans and Democrats.

“For 18 years this bill has expanded protection for vulnerable women. 

“For the last 139 days Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have put that legacy at risk.

“It’s time for them to do the right thing and pass the Senate’s inclusive, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act.

“Thank you Madam President.”