Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Call Speaker Boehner - Agreement on VAWA is Possible!

Possible agreement on VAWA just hours away
Urgent that all VAWA advocates make one more phone call!

Call immediately and talk to Speaker Boehner’s 202-225-0600 or 202.225.6205 and House Majority Leader Cantor’s office 202-225-2815 or 202. 225.4000 and emphatically urge them to “Be a hero and help pass a VAWA that includes ALL victims and survivors. Your leadership can make this happen.” Then let them know that a final VAWA must protect Native women and hold perpetrators accountable. 

The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a legislative priority of the PC(USA), has been held up in Congress over technicalities.  Earlier this year, the Senate passed a VAWA reauthorization that improved protections for immigrants, Native women, and LGBTQ victims of violence.  The House bill did not include these protections, and in fact, rolled back important confidentiality protections for immigrant women.  The PC(USA) supports the Senate-passed bill and urges Congress to complete a VAWA reauthorization this year that protects ALL victims of violence.

Right now, House leadership is in talks with VAWA’s Senate champions to discuss the reauthorization, but House leaders are hesitating about the provisions to protect Native women.  There is a path to bipartisan passage that protects and provides justice for all victims – including Native American women. Under current law, Native victims face dire and life-threatening violence on Tribal lands at the hands of non-Native offenders who cannot be prosecuted by tribal courts.  Neither can these perpetrators be prosecuted in non-Tribal courts because the offense took place on Tribal lands.  The House must agree to include new protections for these victims and ensure that perpetrators of violence can be held accountable.  It’s important for us to tell House leaders that we will stand with them if they do the right thing.

VAWA has bipartisan support and in recent days, dozens of Republican members of Congress have offered real solutions and solid support for the provisions that include all victims.  Last week, Congressmen Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced H.R. 6625, a stand-alone bill which contains compromise language to address Republican concerns that the tribal jurisdiction over non tribal defendants is unconstitutional. These good faith efforts to find common ground and a path forward must not be dismissed. 

CALL immediately to Speaker Boehner’s 202-225-0600 or 202.225.6205 and House Majority Leader Cantor’s office 202-225-2815 or 202. 225.4000 and strongly urge House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker Boehner to seize the moment and get this bill done with the compromise tribal jurisdictional provisions intact.  This is their opportunity to stand firm with victims of violence and we are prayerful and optimistic that they will put politics aside and pass a VAWA inclusive of those who have been left behind so far.  House leadership needs to hear loud and clear that now is the time to pass a VAWA for all victims—Native women included.  And they need to also hear that a VAWA which does not protect Native women and does not hold perpetrators accountable is unacceptable. 

All victims of violence – including Native Women - cannot afford to wait another year for justice.

See previous posts about the Violence Against Women Act: