Washington, DC--Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) voted in favor of the Senate-passed, bipartisan, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which, due to inaction by the House Republican Leadership, expired at the beginning of 2013.  Rep. Engel joined 60 Republicans in rejecting the inferior Republican House alternative, instead passing the Senate bill which offers broader protections for women.  The Senate VAWA passed 286-138, with 87 Republicans voting yes, and 138 voting no.

“It’s baffling that it took the House this long to actually pass something as important as the VAWA. This has been repeatedly passed with bipartisan support many times since it was originally passed in the early 1990s.  Only now, with the radical faction of the House Republican Majority do we have controversy over legislation designed to protect women from abuse,” said Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  “In the last Congress, House Republicans took so many votes attempting to limit women’s rights – including efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and reduce access to birth control – but they failed to take a vote to reauthorize VAWA. We should all agree that women should be protected from violence, and have strong recourse should they become victims.  I hope the prevention of domestic violence and rape would be paramount to all lawmakers. 

“Congress must be in the business of granting rights to our citizens and not limiting them.  The Republican attempts to eliminate protection from the LGBT community, immigrants and Native Americans is unnecessarily punitive.  It is bad governing to pass legislation singling groups out and withholding equal rights to them for nothing more than a political agenda.  I am pleased so many Republicans rejected this cynical political move and voted with Democrats to reject it, although I wish more from their caucus would have joined us.”