Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the author of the Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, on Monday accused House Republicans of prioritizing "partisan politics" over protecting vulnerable populations who suffer from domestic violence.
"In contrast to our actions in the Senate, House leadership is poised to once again take a different route," Leahy said on the floor. "Tomorrow, they are scheduled to substitute our bipartisan bill with a partisan alternative that leaves vulnerable victims without protection and mires our efforts in partisan politics, which will delay getting help to victims. I hope they reconsider this ill-conceived approach."
The House substitute drastically weakens protections for vulnerable victims. It eliminates key protections intended to keep college students safer. It fails to include meaningful language to ensure that LGBT victims can get the same help as any other victims. For immigrant victims, the House substitute actually adds new hurdles that would make it harder for victims to help law enforcement and receive assistance. It adds new burdens and loopholes to protections for Native women who experience domestic violence at horrific rates. The House substitute would continue to allow the most aggressive abusers of native women to escape justice since the most that could be charged in tribal courts would a misdemeanor. That is not justice for the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence.
I stand ready to work with House leadership and have reached out to Speaker Boehner several times. I have not heard from House leadership once this year.
House Republicans intend to pass their alternate VAWA this week.