VAWA Rises Again – Call Congress to Urge Swift Action

January 28, 2012

TAKE ACTION NOW – Please call or meet with your senators and representative to urge swift action on reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in the 113th Congress (S. 47/H.R. 11). We need both Democrats and Republicans to get this legislation passed. Use our formatted message below or write one of your own.

If you can make a phone call or visit with your representative, that's even better! The House has recessed until Feb. 4 and members are back in their districts. But be sure to take action – we must see that VAWA programs continue providing shelter and saving lives.

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The Senate Bill - Legislation (S. 47) was introduced in the Senate on Jan. 22 by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) that mirrors closely the inclusive, bipartisan Senate bill that was passed last Congress. But as you may know, on the House side, election year politics got in the way of final passage of VAWA reauthorization. So we are starting over again, and we must get the bill passed without further delay. Our first goal is to get at least 60 co-sponsors on S. 47 by Jan. 31 so that this bill can be quickly approved in the Senate and sent to the House.

Press Conference - A standing-room-only press conference was held on Jan. 23 led by sponsors, Sens. Leahy and Crapo, along with Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Susan Collins, and Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Amy Klobuchar – several of whom said that they had worked as prosecutors and observed firsthand the tragedy of domestic violence. Former NOW president Kim Gandy, now president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, also spoke about the critical importance of VAWA to hundreds of state, local and territorial coalitions and programs.

Ask Your Senators to Co-sponsor - Senators who have historically supported VAWA or related bills but are not yet listed as co-sponsors include: Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Among the Republicans who should be asked to co-sponsor are: Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), David Vitter (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.)

Freshmen senators as potential co-sponsors include: Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.).

Achievable Goal - We need all Democratic senators to join as co-sponsors, plus as many Republicans as possible. In the 112th Congress, VAWA reauthorization passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 68 to 31, so getting to 60 shouldn't be difficult.

The House Bill - In the House of Representatives, Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) have introduced an identical version, H.R. 11, with 157 co-sponsors. Some 38 Democrats are not yet listed as co-sponsors, but should be on the bill. Another 21 Republicans will be needed for passage. We are confident that the bill can be passed in this Congress, but stubborn opposition by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other Republican leaders means that we will have to work harder. At least 218 co- sponsors/supporters are required to pass H.R. 11; a list of the current co-sponsors is at

Programs Need VAWA Reauthorized - Hundreds of state and local programs that are funded, at least in part, by the federal Violence Against Women Act are still operating, even though authorization for VAWA expired in 2011. They are funded through March 27 by a Continuing Resolution (CR). A short summary of key provisions of the VAW Reauthorization Act of 2012 can be found on the NOW website at, and we will soon be posting a more detailed summary of the new bills. Recent history and comprehensive fact sheets on VAWA can be found at

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