November 13, 2012
Please call your representative and both of your senators to urge them to make sure that the inclusive, bipartisan version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S. 1925) is passed before Congress adjourns.
Congress still has not reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. Authorization of this critical program has already expired, though funding for this and other government programs was approved through March 2013.
We need NOW leaders to make personal phone calls to their House members, urging them to ask Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to schedule a floor vote on the Senate VAW bill, S. 1925, which contains vital protections for battered immigrant women, Native American women, LGBT persons, communities of color and women on college campuses. We also need to put pressure on senators to ensure that a final bill is adopted in the next few weeks and sent to President Obama for his signature. If Congress fails to pass VAWA, the legislation simply dies, and we have to start all over again in January.
Wednesday, Nov. 14, is our Call for Action Day. Call the switchboard for Congress at 202-225-3121, and ask for your state's senators and your House member. Here's a suggested message:
I am concerned there has been no action on the Violence Against Women Act for more than 189 days. It is unacceptable that VAWA expired nearly two years ago. With only a few weeks until this Congress ends you can help change that. I need a commitment from you that the inclusive, bipartisan Senate version of VAWA reauthorization will be your priority before Congress adjourns. I need a commitment that you will be a strong ally for a final bill that includes protections for all victims. Please tell your colleagues and the leadership that you want to see an acceptable VAWA reauthorized in the lame duck session. Make VAWA the number one priority bill passed before this Congress adjourns.
You can also tweet:
@[your legislator]: What steps are you taking to make sure the real #VAWA is reauthorized in lame duck session?
@[your legislator]: Make the real #VAWA a lame duck priority – reauthorize it now!
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) must be reauthorized this Congress. An inclusive, bipartisan bill (S. 1925) passed in Senate earlier this year (68-31) with important improvements that strengthen protections for a number of vulnerable populations, like battered immigrant women, Native American women, LGBT persons and violence survivors on college campuses.
A very different House bill (H.R. 4970) was also passed. The House bill actually reduces services and protections for undocumented immigrants and LGBT individuals, not only failing to strengthen VAWA provisions but undermining current law. The two bills are currently pending reconciliation, but it has become clear that the radical fringe in control of the Republican Party is continuing to block efforts.
We urge NOW leaders to make personal phone calls to their senators and representative. Explain that this is the most important post-election bill, and ask them to agree to pass the inclusive, bipartisan Senate version of VAWA, which provides lifesaving services to vulnerable groups. If your House member tries to tell you they voted for VAWA, remind them that the House version was a sham VAWA that passed primarily on a party-line vote. In fact, 23 Republicans voted against H.R. 4970, which leaves out protections for anyone who isn't considered a "real" victim. They cannot possibly be proud that they passed a bill that:
» Ignored improvements for victims of dating and sexual violence at colleges and universities, who often lack access to the justice system simply because these crimes occur on campus; failed to improve safety through transparency of information, prevention programs and resource centers to support colleges and universities with best practices and guidelines that are essential for a positive educational space.
» Rolled back protections for vulnerable groups, including communities of color, failing to understand the nuances of violence in racial and ethnic homes and neighborhoods.
» Tossed out strengthened housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
» Ignored important provisions to improve services and accountability in programs, and left out prevention initiatives. We need real improvements, like a stronger criminal justice response to rape kit backlogs and improvements to the Underserved Populations Program of 2005, which targets survivor populations that were underserved because of age, rural settings, disabilities, language barriers, mental health concerns, and other similar issues.
» Undermined the Office on Violence Against Women and sent most of its authority to a larger bureaucracy dealing with all victims of crime.
» And, most tragic of all, refused to address provisions in the Senate bill that improved access to justice for violence survivors and to services for immigrants, tribal women and the LGBT community.
The House bill is not acceptable for reauthorization. Compromises cannot be made about the safety of all women. Domestic violence causes women across the U.S. to lose their jobs, their health and too often, their lives. We cannot let Congress ignore our call to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
Check out www.4vawa.org or http://www.now.org/issues/violence for more information.
Take action on Wed, 11/14. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121 or use the links below to find the direct lines to your representative and senators.
U.S. Senate office phone numbers: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
U.S. House of Representative office phone numbers: http://www.house.gov/representatives