WASHINGTON – The Violence Against Women Act is back in the news, and Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) is one of the lawmakers in Washington pushing for a quick re-authorization of the law. However, whether or not he agrees with a revised Senate version that failed to get support last year remains to be seen.
As it previously existed, the law provides funding to investigate and prosecute violent crimes against women, as well as allowing for civil suits in cases where alleged perpetrators aren’t prosecuted.
Congressman Reed is one of 17 House Republicans who have sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), calling for action on the legislation. In the letter, Reed said that should a woman be the victim of any violent crime, she should have the protection from her assailant she deserves but also the care she and her family need to recover physically and emotionally.
Last year both the House and Senate passed their own versions of a bill to reauthorize the law. Neither version went on to get a full vote in both houses.
The Senate version, which passed in 2012 and again on Tuesday, would add protections for partners in same-sex relationships, for domestic abuse victims living on Native American tribal lands and for immigrants.
In his media release, Congressman Reed didn’t specify whether he would support any of the new provisions in the Senate bill, but he stressed that the House should look into passing a bipartisan compromise bill that protects America’s women.
The original Violence Against Women Act was championed by then-Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. It was signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, and reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. The current authorization expired in 2011.