Nadler Chastises Republicans for Rejecting Increase in Funding for Grants Under the Violence Against Women Act

May 10, 2012 Issues: Public Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, pushed to increase by $20 million funding for grants under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in order to more effectively target domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, and rape.  The amendment was offered as the Motion to Recommit for H.R. 5326, the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act, and was voted down by the Republicans.

“This is a question of values and priorities,” said Nadler.  “What kind of message do we want to send to women across the country?  Do we want GSA-style wild-party extravagant conferences or do we want to safeguard the lives of women?  Do we value women’s safety?  Are we willing to make sure we have the resources needed?....I ask all Members today – stand up for your mothers; stand up for your wives; stand up for your daughters; stand up for women everywhere.  Stop the violence.”

The following is the text of Nadler’s statement on the House Floor, as prepared:

“Mr. Speaker, whether it is attempts to deny women reproductive or other health care services, or refusals to support efforts to achieve equal pay for equal work, many women in America today feel under siege.  Indeed, many women across the country feel a war is being waged on them by policymakers.  Today, with this final amendment to the CJS appropriations bill, Members of the House will have a chance to say where they stand.  This is the final amendment to the bill.  It will not kill the bill or send it back to committee.  If adopted, the bill as amended will proceed to final passage. 

“My amendment would increase by $20 million money spent on grants under the Violence Against Women Act – or VAWA .  Passed in 1994, VAWA is a landmark piece of legislation that has helped an incalculable number of women and families avoid or recover from crimes of violence.  Grant programs under VAWA target domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, and rape.  These are crimes many women know all too well.

“Indeed, violence against women remains a pervasive problem and a national tragedy.  In 2008, about 1.8 million women over the age of 12 were subjected to a crime of violence, including 170,000 who were victims of rape or sexual assault.  In that same year, 2,918 women were murdered, many by someone close to them.  Every year, 1.3 million women over the age of 18 are assaulted by intimate partners.   We need to do more to stop this epidemic; we need to do more for America’s women. 

“I want to acknowledge what I expect the opponents of this motion might say – that funding amount for the VAWA grant programs in the underlying bill is a few million dollars above last year’s level and above President Obama’s request.  I would point out, as a response, that the money in this bill is hundreds of millions of dollars below the last authorized amount and about $15 million below fiscal year 2010.  Additionally, this is not the last stop for this bill.  When we conference with the Senate, which has a higher total funding level for CJS, we should have the highest possible funding level for VAWA from which to negotiate.

“The $20 million increase for VAWA is offset by cuts to administrative accounts.  We have heard from our colleagues of the need to cut government spending, to cut administrative expenses, to prevent the types of excesses we have seen recently in the GSA and other agencies with Las Vegas conference extravaganzas.  Well, now is your chance to put your money where your mouth is and shift funding from these types of administrative expenses to preventing violence against women.

“This is a question of values and priorities.  What kind of message do we want to send to women across the country?  Do we want GSA-style wild-party extravagant conferences or do we want to safeguard the lives of women?  Do we value women’s safety?  Are we willing to make sure we have the resources needed? 

“I ask all Members today – stand up for your mothers; stand up for your wives; stand up for your daughters; stand up for women everywhere.  Stop the violence.  Pass this Motion to Recommit.”

###