Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today highlighted another piece of crucial legislation, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), that is languishing in the Senate due to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) refusal to bring this bipartisan bill up for a vote. VAWA plays a critical role in addressing gender-based violence and providing services and protections for survivors in Nevada, and across the country.
“It’s unconscionable that Senator McConnell is blocking progress on one of the best tools Congress has to address the epidemic of violence against women. Partisan politics have no place in this debate – we should be doing all we can to increase the prosecution of violent predators and improve access to resources for brave survivors. It’s time for the Republican Leader to act on bipartisan legislation currently sitting in the Senate that reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act and strengthens protections for victims. Since its passage 25 years ago, the Violence Against Women Act has played a crucial role in protecting women and their families. I’m doing all I can in the Senate to push Leader McConnell to act so we can help protect every woman across every zip code from domestic violence.”
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 passed out of the House in April 2019 with bipartisan support. The bill provides funding for critical programs to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; authorizes new programs; and improves existing services and resources for survivors. It also closes a loophole in the law to ensure that intimate and dating partners, regardless of marital status, who are convicted of dating violence, stalking, or are under a restraining order, cannot possess a firearm.
Additionally, this bill strengthens domestic violence protections in Native American and Alaska Native communities by restoring tribal jurisdiction over crimes of sexual violence and stalking, and crimes against children, elders and law enforcement.