Republican leaders deployed their female members to make the case for it, notably Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), a leadership member, and Rep. Sandy Adams (FL), herself a victim of domestic violence. Over the objections of advocates for abused victims, but with the support of a so-called men’s rights group, House GOP leaders passed their version on a partisan vote, despite a White House veto threat.And that’s when the legislation stalled, never to recover.
However, reports that VAWA is “dead” are untrue; VAWA’s authorization expired over a year ago, but its programs and services continue to operate under language last updated in 2005. Still, VAWA’s current form is in serious need of the updates and enhancements suggested by the domestic violence and sexual assault community.We must continue to fight for funds for VAWA through the appropriations process, and we absolutely must make sure that the sequester doesn’t hit at the end of February. The sequester’s cuts to VAWA programs would be incredibly harmful, particularly at the state and local level.Our goal for the next few weeks and months is to speak out on behalf of VAWA and ensure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of the debt ceiling and ongoing budget-related discussions.We must reauthorize VAWA, and we must do it now.