The Violence Against Women Act has been law since 1994. Passed with broad bipartisan support, the bill enhanced investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted. Since its initial passage, the bill has been reauthorized twice, in 2000 and 2005. The last reauthorization had unanimous consent in the Senate, an amazing 415 yes votes in the House, and was signed by Pres. George W. Bush. Seems like it should be pretty clear for reauthorization this year, doesn’t it?
Instead, Republicans have hijacked the debate over the bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee failed to get a single Republican vote to pass the bill. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R – Misogyny) offered a substitute bill that slashed funding, eliminated the Justice Dept. office that enforces the bill and removed language protecting lesbians and transgender women as well as seriously restricting access to services by immigrants.
REALLY? Is all the political posturing so important that women’s lives should be put at risk? Should services that have had nearly 20 years of broad support be gutted so we can strip away rights from the oppressed? Apparently that’s what the Republican thugs on the Committee are interested in. Stand up to this abuse of power and sign the DailyKos petition demanding reauthorization today!