House may vote on Senate-passed VAWA bill >>

February 27th, 2013

House may vote on Senate-passed VAWA bill

There has been an important development with VAWA. Today, the House Rules Committee voted on a rule for House floor consideration of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. There will be a vote on the House Substitute, which does not contain the long needed protections for Native women. Many expect the vote on the House Substitute to fail. IF the House Substitute fails, the House will vote on S. 47 as passed by the Senate, which contains the full set of protections for Native women.

Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), a member the House Rules Committee, stood and fiercely fought to defend the protections for Native women that are in the Senate version of the VAWA bill. Cole stated explained that the jurisdiction system in place makes no sense and “at the end of the day, what we’ve got out there right now isn’t working very well…. When we’re deal with laws that impact certain groups and communities, we ought to listen to what they have to say. Over half of our Republican senate colleagues voted for this bill, and thought it passed constitutional muster…. This is one of those holes in our justice system, and common sense [dictates], you give local people the power to take care of their problem. Hunters know where to hunt, fishermen know where to fish, and predators know where to prey. The idea that we would keep tribes from doing for themselves what we’ve been unable and unwilling to do for them makes no sense.” He then told his colleagues that he will vote NO on the House substitute and in favor of the Senate bill.

The votes will happen on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Every vote will count. We urge you to continue to reach out to your local House delegation and ask your Member of Congress to stand with Congressman Cole and vote NO on the House Substitute and YES on the underlying bill, the Senate-passed VAWA, S. 47.

S. 47 is a strong, bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Michael Crapo (R-ID). S. 47 will improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence. The bill includes historically important tribal provisions that will enable tribes to address domestic violence in Indian country. S. 47 passed by a vote of 78 – 22 with all 53 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 23 Republicans voting for the bill.

The House substitute that would replace S. 47 is a partisan measure. The House substitute includes disincentives for tribal governments and tribal police to combat violence against Native women, it offer too many tools for non-Native suspects of abuse to game the already broken justice system, and it limits existing tribal authority to issue civil orders of protection against non-Natives who commit violence against Indian women.

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