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Jerrold N.
Democrat NY 10

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  • Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

    by Representative Jerrold Nadler

    Posted on 2013-02-28

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    NADLER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

    Madam Speaker, this bill is about women. It is about our sisters and daughters. It is about combating violence that no human being should ever face--rape, assault, sexual assault, human trafficking.

    By offering an amendment that will further delay and even endanger the passage of the bill, Republicans are not just standing up for the men who abuse immigrants or for the men who rape Native Americans; they are delaying justice and counseling and health care and protection for everyone. The Republican amendment would roll back protections for immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse by making it harder to obtain U visas. The new restrictions would deter undocumented immigrants from reporting assaults and from cooperating with police, leaving victims vulnerable.

    The bipartisan Senate bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the eligibility for grant programs under VAWA, and it would include sexual orientation and gender identity as classes. The Republican amendment, by deleting these provisions, appears to say, if you are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, it's okay to beat you up, that VAWA will not help you. This is the Republican idea of equality in the 21st century.

    {time} 1100 Approval of the Republican amendment would delay the bill for weeks or months, or even kill the bill altogether, as it did in the last Congress. I hope that is not the true motive behind the amendment. However, the fact that Republicans in Congress have been waging a war on women from the moment they took over control of the House does make you wonder.

    It is time to reject this cynical ploy and pass the Senate's bipartisan Violence Against Women Act reauthorization now without amendment. I ask my colleagues to join me in voting against the Republican amendment and for the Senate bill. We don't need a retrogressive House bill that goes back on existing protections and endangers passage of any bill. The Senate did a fine job on a bipartisan basis. We should pass its bill without delay and not engage in partisan retrogressive conduct.

    Friends of VAWA Coalition Calls on the House to Defeat the Substitute to S. 47 and Pass the Bipartisan Senate Bill Washington, DC--The 73 undersigned national organizations issued the following statement opposing the House Republican substitute for the bi-partisan Senate bill (S. 47), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes provisions to protect vulnerable communities, including Native American women, college students, and LGBT individuals: The House Republican Leadership's bill puts a barrier to the protection of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Conversely, the Senate version of VAWA, which was adopted with strong bipartisan support (78-22), addresses gaps in current service programs that left Native American women, college students, LGBT individuals, and other vulnerable groups without vital protections.

    Today, House Republican Leadership will offer a substitute to the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA (S. 47), eliminating these important provisions and weakening the Office of Violence Against Women. These omissions deny critical services to many victims and reinforce the perception of the Republican Party as hostile to the needs of women, college students, LGBT persons, and communities of color. The House substitute: Limits the authority S. 47 provides to tribal authorities to prosecute non-tribal members who commit domestic violence or sexual assault crimes on tribal land. This makes it more difficult for Native American women to hold their abusers accountable. Native Americans are disproportionately affected by dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

    Eliminates provisions of the Senate bill that would require colleges and universities to keep students safe and informed about policies on sexual assault and enhance programs that help to prevent and combat sexual violence on college campuses.

    Drops the anti-discrimination provisions from S. 47, which were designed to ensure that LGBT victims receive the services they need regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Studies have shown that LGBT individuals are victims of domestic and sexual violence at equal or greater levels than the rest of the population.

    Even in today's polarized political climate, we should at least be able to agree that when we send our daughters and sons to college, they should be protected from stalking, date rape and sexual assault; that one-third of tribal women who have been the victims of rape or domestic abuse should have equal access to justice no matter who the perpetrator is; and, that domestic violence is still [[Page H781]] violence regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

    It is critical that Representatives reject the exclusionary substitute bill and support passage of the bipartisan Senate bill. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice-President, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at 202-263-2880 zirkin@civilrights.org or Sakira Cook, Senior Policy Associate, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at 202-263-2894 or cook@civilrights.org or Norma Gattsek, Director of Government Relations, Feminist Majority at ngattsekgfeministorg or 703- 522-2214.

    AFL-CIO, African American Ministers in Action (AAMA), Alaska Federation of Natives, American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Federation of Government Employees, (AFL-CIO), American Federation of Teachers, (AFL-CIO), Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, Black Women's Health Imperative, Break the Cycle, Casa de Esperanza: National Latino Network for Healthy Families and Communities, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Communications Workers of America, (AFL-CIO), Community Action Partnership, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, Enterprising and Professional Women--USA.

    Equal Justice Society, Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO), Feminist Majority, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, GlobalSolutions.org, Human Rights Campaign, Institute for Science and Human Values, Inc., International Community Corrections Association (ICCA), International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women, International Union, (UAW), Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, Media Equity Collaborative, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Metropolitan Community Churches, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Association of Social Workers, National Black Justice Coalition, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

    National Congress of American Indians, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council on Independent Living, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, National Immigration Law Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women's Law Center, People For the American Way, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc.

    The Religious Institute, The United Methodist Church, (General Board of Church & Society), Ultra Violet, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Methodist Women, US Human Rights Network, US National Committee for UN Women, V-Day, WestCare Foundation, Wider Opportunities for Women, Women Enabled, Inc., Women's Action for New Directions (WAND), Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, (U.S. Section), Women's Law Project, YWCA USA.

    ____ The Leadership Conference, on Civil and Human Rights, Washington, DC, February 25, 2013.

    Vote No on House Substitute for S. 47; It Fails to Protect All Victims of Domestic Violence Dear Representative: On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 210 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to oppose the House substitute for S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), because it fails to protect all victims of domestic violence. The Leadership Conference strongly believes that protecting all who suffer domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking is a fundamental civil and human right, and therefore we intend to score this vote in our Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress.

    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was adopted in the Senate with strong bipartisan support (78-22), addresses gaps in current service programs that left lesbian, gay, and transgender people, Native American women, and other underserved and vulnerable groups without vital services or protections. The need to address these gaps has been recognized by law enforcement officers, victim service providers, and health care professionals. While government reports document that the annual incidence of domestic violence has decreased by 63 percent, it is still unacceptable that in the United States 24 people become victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States every minute.

    Yet the House substitute for S.47 eliminates important provisions in the bipartisan Senate bill, thereby denying services to many victims of domestic violence. Despite the well-documented unacceptably high rates of domestic violence on tribal lands, the House substitute does not include adequate provisions to make it easier for Native American women to obtain orders of protection from abusers. In addition, the House substitute drops the anti-discrimination provisions that would ensure access to services for LGBT survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. Finally, the House bill eliminates specific protections for victims of violence on college campuses, where we know high incidences of dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking occur.

    The Leadership Conference believes that every battered person deserves protection, regardless of the victim's race, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Therefore, we urge you to vote against the House substitute for S.47 and to ask House leaders to bring the bipartisan Senate-passed VAWA Reauthorization to the floor. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sakira Cook at 202-263-2894 or cook@civilrights.org.

    Sincerely, Wade Henderson, President & CEO.

    Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President.

    ____ [From The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Feb. 25, 2013] Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls Republican VAWA Proposal ``Nothing Less than Shameful'' (By Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President) ``The determination of the House Republican leadership to block an inclusive, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act in favor of a narrow partisan bill that fails to protect all victims of domestic violence is nothing less than shameful.

    The Republican leadership's proposal leaves out updates to VAWA that protect college students, American Indians, LGBT people, and other underserved groups vulnerable to domestic violence and sexual assault Victims' advocates flat-out reject this proposal.

    Even in today's polarized political climate, we should at least be able to agree that when we send our daughters and sons to college, they should be protected from stalking, violence, date rape, and sexual assault; that one-third of tribal women who have been the victims of rape or domestic abuse should have equal access to justice no matter where the perpetrator lives; and that domestic violence is still violence regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The House should stop holding victims hostage.

    It's time for the House to stop playing politics with victims' lives and pass the Senate version of VAWA.

    ____ [From the New York City Anti-Violence Project, Feb. 22, 2013] The House of Representative's Introduction of the Violence Against Women Act (By Sharon Stapel, Executive Director) Today the House introduced a version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which stripped the language that would protect LGBT survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence and that was included in S. 47, the inclusive, bipartisan Senate bill that was overwhelmingly passed on February 12th. Leaving LGBT survivors of violence behind is an unacceptable response to the real violence that LGBT people face every day.

    The CDC and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs have found that LGBT people experience intimate partner and sexual violence at the same or higher rates as other communities. Yet 94% of service providers, including law enforcement, throughout the United States report that they do not have LGBT specific services available. These studies demonstrate the real need of LGBT survivors and the lack of resources available to meet that need.

    The House bill does not protect LGBT people from discrimination by a service provider nor does it specifically include services to LGBT people as an underserved population. While the House bill does make VAWA gender neutral, this does not address the needs of LGBT survivors of violence who experience violence specific to their sexual orientation and gender identity and not just their gender. For example, one lesbian was asked to leave a domestic violence support group not because she was a woman but because, as the program told her, she ``did not fit in'' as a lesbian.

    The Senate bill provisions are urgently needed to provide actual resources to LGBT survivors. VAWA is our nation's response to domestic and sexual violence and must include all survivors. We cannot pick and choose which victims deserve help through VAWA. Congress must pass a bill that includes all survivors of violence, including LGBT survivors, and they must do so now.

    ____ [From the National Congress of American Indians, Feb. 25, 2013] Tell the House of Representatives the House Leadership VAWA Bill Does Not Meet the Needs of Indian Country On Friday, House leadership filed legislation which it intends to consider on Wednesday. Unfortunately, this legislation would change the strong bipartisan Senate-passed version of the bill, S. 47--the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013--in key areas, which roll back current law and take a defendant-based protection [[Page H782]] approach to address a serious epidemic of unfettered domestic abuse on Indian reservations. NCAI released a statement in opposition to the proposed House language this past Friday.

    The solution is simple. We need tribal leaders and advocates to make their voices heard, and tell Congress that `Sovereignty is the solution; not the problem' and that tribes simply need jurisdiction to protect women. Also, tell them--if a House compromise must be made, the sensible solution is H.R. 780, which was recently introduced by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA49) and appropriately balances defendants' rights with the urgent need to protect Native women from unfettered violence (See Sensible Solution for House Leadership section below for more on H.R. 780).

    The House Leadership Bill Rolls Back Current Law The recently proposed language from the House would roll back current law regarding tribal courts' protection order jurisdiction. Currently, this is the only local and effective recourse Native women victims of violence arguably have against non-Indian perpetrators.

    The 2000 VAWA Reauthorization included language which made it clear that every Indian tribe had full civil authority to issue and enforce protection orders against all individuals.

    The proposed language in the House would restrict this jurisdiction significantly. Tribes would need to seek certification through the Attorney General to exercise this civil authority, and then the tribe would only retain the authority to issue protection orders over non-Indians if: they live or work on the reservation; or if they are, or have been, in an intimate relationship with a tribal member. This last requirement adds an unjust and unnecessary burden of proof to victims seeking immediate assistance from their local courts.

    Also, the law--as drafted--would subject Indian tribes to federal statutes meant to apply to States, including numerous processes and procedures, which would apply on top of the tribal courts own practices and procedures (for specific examples, see discussion below). This additional layer of processes and procedures will inevitably serve to frustrate justice in tribal courts, which are already subject to a strong and proven federal framework: the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

    The Proposed House Special Domestic Violence Jurisdiction is Unworkable and Would Frustrate Justice in Tribal Courts Further, while the Senate bill recognizes an Indian tribe's self-governance authority to protect Native women victims of violence, it adds additional protections for non-Indian defendants. Unfortunately, while the House bill offers unworkable federal oversight of tribal courts.

    The recently proposed House legislation would add: A certification process by the Attorney General's Office for tribes to exercise this `special domestic violence jurisdiction' over non-Indians, even though the Department of Justice already drafted the bipartisan-passed Senate version of the bill; A 1-year sentencing limitation on tribal courts for crimes covered under the Act, even where the same crime--if prosecuted in federal court--would require harsher sentencing; A federal removal provision that may be exercised by either the defendant or a United States Attorney, and subjects tribes to the same procedures and processes as states; A different set of Habeus Corpus guidelines, outside of the Indian Civil Rights Act, to abide by as States; An interlocutory appeal process, as well as a direct review of the final judgment; A right for tribes to be sued, which will provide even more opportunities for perpetrators to abuse tribal court systems; and A duty for the Attorney General to appoint not less than 10 qualified tribal prosecutors as special prosecutors, with a preference given to Indian tribes that are not exercising this special domestic violence jurisdiction.

    Time and time again, Indian tribes have proven that they are most efficient when they operate their own governance. The current Administration has continued a strong policy towards self-determination and self-governance, and Congress should not sway from this policy now.

    The Sensible Solution for House Leadership Two weeks ago, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA49) introduced H.R. 780, which is a sensible solution to the concerns expressed by House Leadership. Currently, this bill continues to receive support from House membership. This bill would take the bipartisan-passed Senate bill, which provides a full panoply of protections for defendants, and add one additional measure--the right for the defendant to remove his case to federal court, upon a showing that the tribal court violated one of these protections.

    In this manner, the Indian tribe retains jurisdiction, pledges to carry out justice in a manner consistent with state courts, and avoid undue judicial delay in administering justice for Native women victims of violence.

    This Issa/Cole bill is the sensible solution because it begins with the question: `How does Congress protect Native women?' and answers it in a sensible manner; rather than the alternative question, `How does Congress protect alleged domestic abusers that evade prosecution because they abuse Indians on the reservation?' Please call your representatives in Congress and tell them you oppose the proposed House substitute for S. 47 and urge them to support H.R. 780 as the House compromise to the Senate bill. It is the sensible approach that recognizes tribal self-governance and protects Native women, while appropriately balancing defendants' rights.

    Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS. Madam Speaker, I reserve my time.

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