May 15, 2012
TAKE ACTION: The House of Representatives is expected to vote on Wednesday, May 16, for the Republican version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4970), which not only eliminates important provisions included in the Senate-passed bipartisan bill (68-31, S. 1925), but contains new ones that would actually be dangerous to survivors of domestic violence while shielding abusers from accountability. The Republican leadership will not allow any floor amendments.
PLEASE CALL NOW - Call your House member as soon as possible to oppose H.R. 4970 (known as the Adams bill) and to urge that there be an open debate on the House floor with amendments permitted. NOW opposes H.R. 4970, and unless it can be amended to restore important protections, NOW will consider a vote for the bill to be a vote against VAWA and against victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask for your representative's office. Or, you can look up the name and phone number of your representative right on NOW's website.
Adams Bill is Racially Exclusionary and Puts Survivors at Risk - The House Judiciary Committee recently reported out a bill, sponsored by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), that rolls back protections for victims of violence and fails to include provisions included in the bipartisan Senate bill that would help Native American women, immigrant women, LGBT persons and college students. A much better bill (H.R. 4271) has been introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), but conservative leaders are not allowing this version to be offered for a vote. Additionally, no improvements to the Adams bill can be made if floor amendments are not permitted prior to the vote.
Your House Target List - More information on the "real VAWA" can be found on the website of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, including fact sheets, a toolkit, summaries of the legislation and other useful materials. Calling your House member (instead of sending an email) is critically important, as the vote is set to occur on Wednesday, May 16. Activists in the following states, especially, should contact their House member: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
New York Times Editorial: Backward on Domestic Violence, May 14
Here's some suggested language for the call to your House member:
Vote Against H.R. 4970 - As a supporter of the National Organization for Women, I urge you to vote AGAINST, H.R. 4970, the Adams bill, which does not contain needed protections for victims of violence that I believe are critically important. I agree with NOW that a vote for the Adams bill is a vote against the Violence Against Women Act. I support a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that protects Native American women, immigrant women, and LGBT violence survivors. The Adams bill allows no opportunity for a discussion of humane alternatives that treat victims with respect and decency. There is support in the House for a reauthorization of VAWA that more closely resembles the Senate-passed bill (H.R. 1925), and members should have a chance to weigh the merits of alternatives to the Adams bill before they vote for final passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
Puts Victims in Grave Danger - The Adams bill completely undermines the spirit of the landmark bill passed 18 years ago. NOW is "scoring" this vote, meaning that we consider a vote for the Adams bill to be a vote against VAWA.
If your representative (or the staff member to whom you are speaking) indicates that she/he will vote against the Adams bill, please thank them, and encourage them to persuade other House members to do the same.
If your representative indicates that she/he intends to vote for the Adams bill, you may want to use these talking points:
» I strongly urge you not to support a bill that imposes cruel new reporting restrictions on immigrant survivors of violence -- eliminating confidentiality, putting victims in grave danger and shielding abusers from accountability.
» Please do not abandon victims because of their racial and legal status.
» This second-class treatment of women of color smacks of willful ignorance of the problem and hostility toward the victims.
» I cannot support and vote for someone who claims to support ending violence against women but votes for a bill that is exclusionary and ignores the biases and disrespect that certain victims face when seeking help from the criminal justice system and access to life-saving services.
Call House Leaders - Finally, if you can, call the House leadership to tell them that you think H.R. 4970 harms victims and is not the real VAWA. Tell them that victims of violence deserve an open debate on the House floor, with amendments permitted. Call Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) at 202-225-0600 (leadership office) or 202-225-6205 (personal office), and call Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) at 202-225-4000 and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R. Calif.) at 202-225-2915
Thanks for all you do for NOW.