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Statement by Louisiana Democratic Party on the 19th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

This Year Louisiana Republicans Cassidy, Fleming and Scalise Voted Against VAWA, Jindal Slashed Funding for Domestic Violence Programs

BATON ROUGE — On the 19th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, the Louisiana Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson:

“The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law by President Clinton nineteen years ago today under the leadership of then-Senator Joe Biden. In the almost two decades since, this landmark law has improved the criminal justice response to violence against women and ensured that victims and their families have access to the services they need.

“When the Violence Against Women Act first became law in 1994, as well as when it came up for reauthorization in 2000 and 2005, it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. This is common-sense legislation that everyone should support, but unfortunately that is not the case for today’s Republican Party. Last year, Republicans in Congress tried to weaken the Violence Against Women Act, and the majority of the GOP still voted against it earlier this year. In contrast, Democrats voted unanimously for the reauthorization.

“Here in Louisiana, we must hold accountable those who refuse to stand up for the rights of women. Congressmen Bill Cassidy, John Fleming and Steve Scalise all voted against this critical legislation in 2013, and that is just one more example of how Louisiana Republicans have opposed common-sense legislation to help women. Let’s not forget that Governor Bobby Jindal decided to slash funding for family violence prevention programs in January and then vetoed additional funding for these critical services in June.

“In 1994, Congress recognized the severity of violence against women and our need for a national strategy by passing the Violence Against Women Act. Nineteen years later, it is clear we still have work to do. The fact is that there are still too many women who suffer from domestic abuse, and we must recommit ourselves to working toward a solution. As Democrats, we will continue to work tirelessly to prevent violence against all Americans.”

Background:

IN 2012, REPUBLICANS BLOCKED EFFORTS TO PASS THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT AND TRIED TO OFFER A WATERED-DOWN VERSION

Roll Call: Republicans Blocked A Conference “Causing VAWA To Languish For Months.” “‘Republicans blocked a conference when Sen. Reid tried to set one up in May, causing VAWA to languish for months. Appointing conferees at this point is simply another transparent delaying tactic by Republicans,’ Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said. ‘The main difference between the House and Senate versions is that the Senate version is overwhelmingly bipartisan. If Republicans truly want to resolve this issue, they will pass the Senate’s bipartisan compromise right away.’” [Roll Call, 7/31/12]

New York Times Editorial: The Violence Against Women Act Could Pass If Republicans Drop Their “Narrow-Minded Opposition To Stronger Protections For All Victims Of Abuse” – “Republicans Will Bear Responsibility For Blocking Renewal Of A Popular, Lifesaving Initiative.” “Mr. Boehner’s leadership could break the logjam — but that, of course, would also require his Republican colleagues to drop their narrow-minded opposition to stronger protections for all victims of abuse. Unless something changes, Republicans will bear responsibility for blocking renewal of a popular, lifesaving initiative. This seems an odd way to cultivate moderate voters, especially women, going into the fall campaign.” [New York Times, 7/24/12]

IN 2013, THE MAJORITY OF CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST REAUTHORIZING THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

A Large Majority Of House Republicans Voted Against Reauthorizing The Violence Against Women Act. 38 House Republicans voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Only 87 voted in favor. [S. 47, Passage, Vote #55, 2/28/13]

IN 2013, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL MADE A MID-YEAR BUDGET CUT TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAMS AND THEN VETOED ADDITIONAL FUNDING IN NEW BUDGET

KATC: Violence Shelters Bracing For Cuts. Funding for family violence prevention and intervention programs was cut by nearly $1 million — that’s a 16-percent reduction. [KATC, 1/7/13]

KLFY: Domestic Violence Funding Vetoes. The proposed $25 billion state budget saw a lot of red from Governor Bobby Jindal’s veto pen, affecting many programs including funding for domestic violence programs. [KLFY, 6/25/13]

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