Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks today at a press conference on the Violence Against Women Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“As a cosponsor of the original Violence Against Women Act in 1994, I am deeply disappointed that Republicans are trying to politicize this issue. Traditionally, domestic violence legislation has been a subject of bipartisan consensus. In the past, we rallied together around our common responsibility to help law enforcement stop perpetrators of sexual assault, stalking, and partner abuse and provide resources to victims.
“The Senate passed a bipartisan bill – 68-31, with fifteen Republicans voting in favor – that will strengthen the Act and extend its protections and the tools it provides to law enforcement. That is the bill we ought to be considering in this House.
“But the bill we’re considering today, instead of bringing us together, has become yet another tool in Republicans’ agenda of obstruction. It is also the latest in a series of Republican proposals that should give women pause.
“Republicans believe that only some people ought to be protected. What this fight is about, ultimately, is whether we as a nation believe all people are equally deserving and worthy of protection – or just some of us are. It’s time Congress stood up for everyone.
“Let’s pass a bill that says a victim is a victim and ought to have the same rights and resources as any other. This bill weakens the protections we have in place, denies law enforcement the tools they rely on to stop perpetrators, and plays partisan games with women’s lives.
“I say to my Republican colleagues in this House: throw out this bill, and let us have a vote on the Senate’s bipartisan version instead.”