Thursday, February 21, 2013

The House Must Take Up the Senate-passed VAWA

Tell the House to take up the Senate-passed VAWA 
Take two VAWA actions today:

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the Senate passed S. 47, a strong, inclusive bill to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Michael Crapo (R-ID), by a 78-22 bipartisan vote!  Thank you for all of your hard work to make this happen!  And thank you to our Senate champions and the Administration for their unwavering support.  Email your Senators today to say thank you!

Now we need to tell the House of Representatives to bring the bipartisan Senate bill to the House floor for a vote - and to get this done immediately! Email your Representative today! 

Two links:
For thanking the Senate – the alert will tell you how your Senators voted.
For urging action in the House – the alert will tell you if your Representative is a co-sponsor.

Right now the House leadership is pondering about what direction to take on VAWA. Speaker Boehner has given an opening, saying “No decision has been made about…whether we take up the Senate bill or move our own version of the bill.”  We need to help Speaker Boehner and the House decide to take up the Senate bill S. 47.  Email your Representative today! Survivors of violence cannot wait any longer.

Background on the Bill the Senate passed:

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the U.S. Senate passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S. 47). This strong and inclusive legislation was championed by lead co-sponsors Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Michael Crapo (R-ID) to a 78-22 bi-partisan victory.

And in addition to the success of an inclusive VAWA, Senators also included a human-trafficking-related amendment that is effectively the same as S.1301, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), a positive bill that had broad bipartisan support last year (including from 15 Republicans). For a factsheet on S.1301, click here. For the bill text click here and for a full list of co-sponsors, click here

Since its original passage in 1994, VAWA has dramatically enhanced our nation’s response to violence against girls and women, boys and men. More victims report domestic violence to the police and the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 64%.  VAWA provides for a coordinated community approach, improving collaboration between law enforcement and victim services providers to better meet the needs of victims. These comprehensive and cost-effective programs not only save lives, they also save money. In fact, VAWA saved nearly $12.6 billion in net averted social costs in just its first six years.

Bipartisan momentum is also growing in the House of Representatives to swiftly pass a strong VAWA reauthorization bill that will protect all victims.

Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI), herself a courageous survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, introduced a VAWA reauthorization bill (HR 11; similar to S.47) on January 22nd. Nearly 200 co-sponsors have joined her in just the last few weeks.

We know that  Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are attempting to find common ground (click here for more), pledging to make VAWA’s reauthorization an early House priority. We hope that they will continue to work together to reach agreement on a bill that includes all victims. A group of 17 Republican House Members also wrote to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Feb. 11, to urge them to immediately move to reauthorize VAWA; lamenting that reauthorization is “long overdue”; attesting that VAWA programs “save lives” and “have been a success in curbing domestic violence and supporting victims”; and appealing for their swift action to reach “bipartisan compromise” and to find a “bipartisan plan… that reaches all victims.”  See letter and signatories here.

These signs of bipartisan energy and commitment to VAWA’s reauthorization in the House of Representatives are very encouraging. Email your Representative to today – call on the House to follow the Senate’s lead and bring a strong, inclusive, bipartisan VAWA bill to the floor for a vote in the weeks ahead.

Please thank your Senator(s) who voted for the final VAWA.

Note: both alerts will offer sample language based on your Members’ actions on these bills.

If your Representative is one of the 201 sponsors sponsors (all Democrats) of the House version of the Senate VAWA (H.R. 11), thank them and encourage them to talk to and work with their Republican colleagues to get a bipartisan VAWA passed.  (For further updates on sponsors, go to, choose Bill number, type in H.R. 11 and search.)

If your Representative is one of the 17 Republicans who signed onto a letter to Republican House leadership urging a bipartisan VAWA that reaches all victims, thank them and urge them to talk to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor and suggest to them that the Senate bill should be considered on the House floor.  See letter and signatories here.  Twitter handles for these members are at

If your Representative is NOT on the sponsor list, call on them to join the movement in the House for an inclusive VAWA.

Two links:
For thanking the Senate – the alert will tell you how your Senators voted.
For urging action in the House – the alert will tell you if your Representative is a co-sponsor.