VAWA Reauthorization First Legislative Order Of Business In 2012 For SJC

Leahy Lists Bill For Committee Debate Beginning Thursday

WASHINGTON (Monday, Jan. 23, 2012) – The first order of legislative business for the Senate Judiciary Committee this year will be the reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has announced.  Leahy and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the law in November 2011.  Leahy has scheduled the Committee’s first mark-up session on the legislation for this Thursday.

First enacted in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) authorized key programs to provide assistance and resources to victims of domestic and sexual violence. In past years, Leahy has chaired a number of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the importance of the law, including programs that help provide transitional housing, education, and legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, as well as programs that help police and prosecutors combat violence against women.  The Violence Against Women Act expired September 2011.

“The Violence Against Women Act has provided critical assistance to victims of domestic violence for nearly two decades,” said Leahy. “During these difficult economic times, its reauthorization is even more critical.  That is why I have made the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act the Committee first legislative order of business this year.  Democrats and Republicans alike have in the past shown a commitment to eliminating domestic and sexual violence.  I hope we can continue that shared commitment through the Committee’s debate on this bill.”

Leahy worked to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in 2000 and again in 2005, each time with bipartisan support.  The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act is cosponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

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