Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following remarks, as prepared, on the House floor in support of H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021:
“The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was signed into law in 1994 to help ensure that women in America are free from violence and free from fear. At the time that VAWA was enacted, it was all too common for violent crimes against women to go without appropriate response and to remain unaddressed by the criminal justice system.
“But through programs implemented under VAWA, Congress began to help provide communities in America the assistance they need to combat the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
“Building on this success, H.R. 1620 is bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes and strengthens the Violence Against Women Act so that it can continue delivering vital services to those in need.
“VAWA, which is not gender-exclusive, addresses the needs of men and women, children, persons with disabilities, homeless persons, and LGBTQ individuals, among others. This reauthorization would also increase access to grant programs for culturally specific organizations and ensure that such organizations are included in the development and implementation of service, education, training, and other grants. The range of individuals VAWA helps is broad and should be as diverse as our communities around the country. I am pleased that this reauthorization continues our commitment to this principle.
“VAWA has had, and continues to have, a positive impact on people who rely on its assistance, whether directly or indirectly.
“Through grants to state and local governments, the Office on Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice funds the work of thousands of advocates in preventing and addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and in assisting and training law enforcement and victim advocates.
“In addition, grants administered through the Department of Health and Human Services provide funds for shelters, rape prevention and education, programs to address and reduce the sexual abuse of runaway and homeless youth, and programs to educate the community on domestic violence. The reach of the work carried out under VAWA is vast and we must continue to support it.
“This legislation expands services for older survivors of abuse, and for programs targeting rural areas. It also expands the jurisdiction of some tribal authorities over non-Indians who commit certain crimes on tribal lands, to ensure that they are held accountable.
“Like the legislation the House passed last Congress, it also includes provisions protecting transgender individuals and it bans individuals convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing firearms.
“The ‘Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act’ is comprehensive and inclusive legislation that I hope will earn further bipartisan support, in the long tradition of this vital law.
“I want to thank the Gentlewoman from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee, the Chair of the Crime Subcommittee and the sponsor of this legislation, and the Gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Fitzpatrick, for their outstanding leadership in the effort to reauthorize VAWA. I also want to thank the advocates—many of whom are survivors themselves—for the countless hours they have put into improving this legislation.
“Their efforts, and those of many other Members, have produced this important bill that will not only continue the progress enabled by VAWA as originally enacted, but will also make the Act an even more effective tool in addressing the horrible scourge of domestic violence.
“I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and I reserve the balance of my time.”
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