Floor Updates

Leahy, Hutchison

Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill (S. 1925)

Apr 25 2012

06:03 PM

Senator Leahy: (5:35 PM)
  • Unanimous Consent --
    • The Motion to Proceed to S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill, is Agreed to and the Senate will begin consideration of the bill, for debate only (without objection).
  • Spoke on the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill.
    • SUMMARY "I continue to urge all senators to join together to protect the most vulnerable victims of violence, included battered immigrant women assisting law enforcement, Native American women who suffer in record numbers, and those who traditionally have trouble accessing services. I've said so many times on this floor, a victim is a victim is a victim and they need to be helped. They deserve our attention. They deserve the protection and access to services our bill provides. We have 61 cosponsors, including eight Republicans. 16 of the 17 women in the Senate, both parties, have joined as cosponsors. They've been strong supporters from the start and the bill is better because of their efforts. You know, there's one purpose and one purpose alone for the bill that Senator Crapo and I introduced and that is to help and protect victims of domestic and sexual violence. And that purpose is reinforced when we turned to this bill during Crime Victims' Week and Sexual Assault Awareness month. And our bill, I should tell you is based on months of work with survivors and advocates and law enforcement officers from all across the country and I must say from all political persuasions, from the right to the left. It's a bipartisan bill that was developed in an open and democratic process. But mostly it is responsive to the unmet needs of victims When Senator Crapo and I worked to put this legislation together, we purposely avoided proposals that were extreme or divisive on either the right or the left. We selected only those proposals that law enforcement and survivors and the professionals who work with crime victims every day told us were essential. We did not go for somebody who didn't have firsthand experience. We asked the people who actually have to make the law work. And that's why every one of these provisions has such widespread support nationally."

Senator Hutchison: (5:48 PM)
  • Spoke on the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill.
    • SUMMARY "I am going to support Senator Leahy's bill. I like many parts of it, but I also think we can improve it, and the areas that I am going to put in my substitute and I hope that we will be able to pass that as well. Our bill keeps many of the committee-reported bill intact. For instance, Senator Klobuchar, I am putting her bill into cyber stalking because that wasn't a problem when we first passed the Violence Against Women Act, but it is a problem today. Our current legislation - the current legislation that I am going to introduce will update and strengthen current law and fix some weaknesses that I think are in Senator Leahy's bill. Our bill updates current law by mandating tougher sentences for violent crimes, increasing support for sexual assault investigations and rape kit testing, requiring more effective Justice Department oversight of grant programs to ensure scarce funds aren't wasted. This was as a result of the IG in the Justice Department who said there was not enough oversight and not enough auditing of the grants to assure that it goes to the victims and the victims' rights organizations for which it is intended. Our bill certainly is one that I hope we will be able to pass."