Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement criticizing the alteration of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), stating that the bill passed on Wednesday afternoon put women’s lives in jeopardy.
“For almost 20 years, Democrats and Republicans have worked together to reauthorize VAWA – setting aside partisanship to do what is right. Unfortunately, that has changed with the VAWA reauthorization passed by the House today.
“I would like my colleagues to explain why it is ok to commit violence against LGBT women or immigrant women. Regardless where you stand on immigration issues, a border fence, amnesty, etc., or on same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBT citizens, how can you be in favor of making it easier to commit violence against LGBT or immigrant women? I cannot believe our national debate has come to this point – where we are singling out parts of the population and making them more vulnerable to violence.
“The revised reauthorization also puts Native American women in a more vulnerable position. I find incredible that in the 21st Century we are still voting on laws that single out Native Americans in a negative way. I believe our country, and our government is better than that, and we should be seeking to raise the level of protection of our citizens. I implore my colleagues in the Majority to stop putting their political agenda into every single piece of legislation. Some of you may think bipartisanship is a bad word, but the American people deserve a government willing to debate the issues but stand together whenever possible. This is a time to stand together.”