GCADV is disheartened to report that H.R. 4970, the harmful House version of a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 16 by a vote of 222 to 205.
Rather than take up a House bill crafted similarly to the bipartisan Senate VAWA reauthorization bill (S.1925), some members of the House crafted their own version, H.R. 4970. In doing so, they cast aside the input that went into S.1925 from literally thousands of advocates, law enforcement, and prosecutors from across the country. They also ignored the opposition of every major national advocacy group on domestic violence and sexual assault, plus hundreds of other national organizations.
H.R. 4970 not only strips away the added protections for Native women and LGBT people from the Senate VAWA bill (S.1925), but also rolls back critical protections for immigrant victims that have been a part of VAWA for nearly 20 years. This bill seriously weakens VAWA and places some of the most vulnerable victims at greater risk.
Furthermore, based on the false notion that victim services providers are wasteful with VAWA funds, H.R. 4970 also burdens VAWA grant recipients with unworkable and excessive audit and oversight requirements on top of the already stringent requirements that exist in the law as it is. From a program perspective, these provisions will take away important time and money spent serving victims and put it into managing the “paperwork” aspects of the grants.
VAWA has historically included many similar protections for vulnerable groups of victims, and, in the past, was passed almost unanimously by both the House and Senate with favorable votes from Georgia’s Congressmen. It is important that we take time to educate Georgia’s Congressmen about the need to protect ALL victims, regardless of their immigration status or sexual orientation.
Follow up with your Congressman!
Please take time to thank Georgia’s Congressmen who stood up for ALL victims and voted NO on H.R. 4970:
Congressman Sanford Bishop – (202) 225-3631
Congressman Hank Johnson – (202) 225-1605
Congressman John Lewis – (202) 225-3801
Congressman Paul Broun – (202) 225-4101
Congressman David Scott – (202) 225-2939
Please also take time to reach out to Georgia’s Congressmen who voted yes on this harmful bill to express your concern about their vote. Let them know that VAWA legislation must protect ALL victims.
Congressman Jack Kingston – (202) 225-5831
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland – (202) 225-5901
Congressman Tom Price – (202) 225-4501
Congressman Rob Woodall – (202) 225-4272
Congressman Austin Scott – (202) 225-6531
Congressman Tom Graves – (202) 225-5211
Congressman Phil Gingrey – (202) 225-2931
Congressman John Barrow – (202) 225-2823
Please note that, although these Congressmen voted in favor of this harmful version of VAWA, most if not all of them DO support the effort to address domestic violence and sexual assault. By following up in a respectful way that seeks to educate, we can shift the perspectives of our Congressmen to help them see the need to protect ALL victims!
At this time, a conference committee will meet to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. There will be a chance for you to advocate for adoption of the provisions of the Senate VAWA bill to ensure that ALL victims are protected, so stay tuned!
Thank you for your calls and emails to Georgia’s Congressmen!! We appreciate your support!