Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Five things to do for VAWA in the next few hours and days

From Pat Reuss of The National Organization for Women



1. Watch C-SPAN 2 TODAY - Tuesday, July 24th  -  4:45 PM ET/ 1:45 PM PT (this may change depending on floor schedule).  Senators Murray, Boxer, and Blumenthal to Speak on Senate Floor in Support of Bipartisan Senate VAWA Bill

2. Immediate action needed. NEW VAWA SIGN-ON LETTER insisting on a "real" VAWA that serves all victims and includes important improvements to the landmark 1994 VAWA.  Add your organization and forward to all your national, state and local coalition partners.  Deadline Thursday, July 26, end of the day.  NTF VAWA sign on letterYou can add your name and org directly on this website.

Suggested reading:

3. Today's NYTimes editorial: Delay on violence against women act

4. Rep. Biggerts letter asking House leaders to act on a real VAWA  Ask  your Republican House member to add their name to this letter and this bi-partisan effort

5. Congressional Quarterly (7/23): Supporters of Domestic Violence Renewal Urge Boehner to End Stalemate (must be a subscriber to use a link so I've scrolled it below)
Senate Democrats and some House Republicans are dialing up the pressure on Speaker John A. Boehner to end a standoff between the chambers over the renewal of programs aimed at helping domestic violence victims. The House and Senate each have passed their own bills to reauthorize the 1994 Violence Against Women Act for five years, but the competing measures have not gone to conference because of what the House considers a problematic revenue provision tucked into the Senate's version: a $30 fee for visas granted to some immigrants. Under the Constitution's Origination Clause, all revenue language must originate in the House. Boehner, citing the visa fee, has said it is up to the Senate to either remove the provision and pass its bill (S 1925) again, or take up the House-passed version (HR 4970) of the reauthorization and move to conference on that. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., took issue with the constitutional objections Boehner, R-Ohio, has cited to the Senate bill. "Oh, that's BS," Leahy, the sponsor of the Senate legislation, said Thursday after a press conference where he and other Senate Democrats urged the House to take up the Senate bill.
If the House is truly concerned with the revenue provision in the Senate bill, "then why don't they just pass our bill without the [revenue provision] and send it over?" Leahy said, adding that the standoff between the chambers "would be done in two days." "You're either in favor of stopping violence against women or you're not," Leahy said. "If you're in favor of it, then pass [a bill] that used to pass by voice vote, unanimously." Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, reiterated the Speaker's view that since the Senate added the problematic provision to the bill, it is up to the Senate to end the impasse. "The best course of action, since the Senate-passed bill included an unconstitutional provision, would be for the Senate to simply go to conference on the House-passed version," Steel said. "Given Senate Democrats' often-heated rhetoric on this issue, it's difficult to see why they are dragging their heels."
Democrats, however, are not the only ones calling on House leaders to take action. In a letter to Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., five moderate House Republicans urged leaders Thursday to take up the Senate-passed bill in an effort to resolve the constitutional, or "blue-slip," issue that has held up a conference committee. "We strongly urge you to work diligently with the Senate to solve the blue slip problem as effectively as you did with the transportation bill and quickly craft a bicameral compromise on VAWA reauthorization," said the letter, signed by Reps. Judy Biggert and Robert Dold of Illinois, David Rivera and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Todd R. Platts of Pennsylvania. All five Republicans who signed the letter voted against the House-passed bill on May 16. The Senate's bill passed on a 68-31 vote on April 26, with 15 Republicans joining all Democrats in support.

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