Statement ● Human and Civil Rights
For Immediate Release: 
February 28, 2013
Contact Info: 

Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this morning in support of the bipartisan, Senate-passed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:

Click here to watch the video.

“I want to congratulate the Leader for her efforts in getting us to this point. Today, after two months, I think we're going to do something very positive and we're going to do it in a very bipartisan way. I think that's excellent. I think America will be advantaged. Every American – women, yes, but every American – will be advantaged.

“House Democrats support the fully inclusive re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 78-22, as has been referenced. The majority of Republican senators, and all Republican women senators, voted in favor. That bill represents a compromise.

“I urge my colleagues to defeat the partisan amendment version so we can pass the Senate bill. I voted for the rule, which allows us that opportunity. Let us take it. The changes House Republicans made in their version significantly weaken its provisions – I want to say some Republicans, I want to make that clear, not all – aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence and empowering law enforcement to keep our people safe from these crimes.

“The House Republican bill omits critical protections for Native Americans, for LGBT Americans, and for immigrants. Furthermore, the House Republican bill removes protections for students on campus, victims of human trafficking, and those who've experienced rape or stalking. Why? Why not protect everybody, all Americans? When we fail to protect all victims, abusers can get away with the abuse and repeat it.

“Madam Speaker, Congress ought not to be playing games with women's lives and with the lives of all those who suffer from domestic violence. We it owe it to the victims, their families, victims' advocates, law enforcement, and prosecutors to make sure that the protections of the Violence Against Women Act work and can meet the challenges we face today.

“That's why we should defeat the weaker House Republican alternative and instead pass the fully inclusive version passed by Senate Democrats and Republicans. I expect it to be a bipartisan vote. It is a good day for America, and I yield back the balance of my time.”