Rep. Katko Supports Bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization

Syracuse, New York —  U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today highlighted the important need for the House to prioritize the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is set to expire at the end of this month on September 30th.  Katko, joined by 45 of his Republican colleagues, led a GOP letter urging Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to pass a bipartisan measure to reauthorize this important legislation.

“I have been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of funding initiatives to assist victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.  The reauthorization of VAWA should not be a partisan issue – it should be a bipartisan priority,” said Rep. John Katko. “That’s why I’ve led Republican efforts urging leadership to swiftly take up the reauthorization of VAWA.  VAWA authorizes grants which have a tremendous impact in Central New York and across the nation. We must work across the aisle to reauthorize this important measure so we can continue to save lives, protect children, and prevent future victims of domestic and sexual violence.”

“We are very grateful to Congressman Katko for his active role in pursuing the reauthorization of VAWA,” said Randi Bregman, Executive Director of Vera House, Inc. “When we reached out to the Congressman on this issue, he and his staff were eager to work with us and representatives of national advocacy groups to ensure this essential legislation received the bipartisan support it deserves and has had historically.  We are hopeful that the Congressman’s efforts will help lead to passage of a comprehensive reauthorization before the current VAWA expiration at the end of this month.”

The National  Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence issued the following statement, “We applaud the spirit of bipartisanship reflected in this letter and the recognition of the great strides we have made in combating domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking in this country, due in large part to the Violence Against Women Act.  We also applaud the commitment of the signatories to a VAWA reauthorization that makes meaningful improvements to ensure all victims and survivors have access to the safety, security, and services they need and deserve.”

The text of the letter can be found here and below:

September 7, 2018

The Honorable Paul D. Ryan                                 The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House                                                Majority Leader
United States House of Representatives          United States House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol                                                      H-107 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515                                           Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy:

As you know, on September 30th the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is set to expire, leaving us only 7 legislative days to prevent a lapse in authorization. We therefore write to urge you to advance a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA without delay.

Since being signed into law in 1994, VAWA has helped to protect and support millions of Americans who have faced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This landmark legislation has drastically improved our nation’s response to these crimes and has contributed to the overall declining rates of domestic abuse since its enactment. However, instances of violence are still very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in our country, about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime.

Programs authorized and funded under VAWA work to protect girls, boys, men, and women from these terrible crimes. The programs provide funding to ensure safety and support for survivors, increase prevention efforts, expand educational awareness surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, implement training for health professionals and law enforcement, and to coordinate responses across agencies. We have all seen the positive impact of these programs in our districts and have met individuals in our communities who have benefited from the protections this law provides.

This is not a partisan issue. VAWA has been continually reauthorized on a bipartisan basis in Congress. We must act now to maintain and strengthen this critical law.

We urge expeditious reauthorization of VAWA and thank you for your attention to this important issue.