By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A group of Senators in the 113th Congress is attempting to do what the 112th Congress failed to accomplish – pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the legislation together on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
VAWA was originally passed in 1994 and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. The Senate passed the VAWA Reauthorization on April 26, 2012, and the House passed a very different version of the bill on May 16, 2012. But, neither side could come together, and the bill died at the end of the 112th Congress.
“This life-saving legislation should be a top priority of the new 113th Congress,” Sen. Leahy said in a statement. “It is our hope that the Senate will act quickly to pass this strong, bipartisan bill to help all victims of domestic and sexual violence.”
Sen. Crapo, the bill’s co-author, stated, “The Violence Against Women Act has helped countless victims of domestic and relationship violence for nearly twenty years. The path to reauthorization in the 113th Congress begins with reintroduction, and I look forward to working with Senate Leahy and my colleagues on compromise language that can garner the necessary support in both the Senate and House to pass this critical legislation.”
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has been touting passage of the Reauthorization Act for several years.
“NCAI is encouraged by this bi-partisan step to act on VAWA in the 113th Congress and it is clear there is support across the board for a VAWA that includes the tribal provisions,” said NCAI president Jefferson Keel in a statement. “These narrow provisions are vital to the safety of our Native women and to the Native and non-Native communities where violent offenders are left unchecked if they commit specific crimes of domestic or sexual violence on tribal land.”