Violence Against Women Act: House Kills Bill to Extend Funding For VAWA

Today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor killed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), by tabling a bill that would extend funding for domestic violence programs, despite a late-stage intervention by Vice President Joe Biden. This is the first time that it failed to be reauthorized since it was signed in 1994.

VAWA provides financing to programs that work to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking as well as offer support to victims. The bill was approved for reauthorization by the senate in April, but failed to make it through the House before the year-end congressional deadline.

In 1993, the World Conference on Human Rights was held in Vienna, Austria, and declared, "The Conference took historic new steps to promote and protect the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples by, respectively, support the creation of a new mechanism, a Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women..."

In 1994, Congress, in recognizing the severity of violence against women, passed the Violence Against Women Act. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVAW) under the Department of Justice was created to implement VAWA. The programs have been funded through DOJ.

In 2009, on the 15th anniversary of VAWA, President Obama commemorated this as a milestone in our nation's effort to reduce violence against women and applauded the bipartisan accomplishments made in this direction.

Sadly to say, today our politicians ask the vulnerable population to bear the brunt of harsh reality of spending cut.

Senator Patty Murray (D - Wash.) commented in an interview with the Huffington Post, "I think they are still so kowtowing to the extreme on the right that they're not even listening to the moderates, and particularly the women, in their caucus who are saying they support this."

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Yanwen Xia

Research section at University of Kansas Hospital Cancer Center & Midwest Voices contributing columnist

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