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Violence Against Women Act set to be renewed through bipartisan spending agreement


“Finally, this historic legislation will carry major bipartisan legislation that has been in the making for years,” they said. “The Violence Against Women Act, expired for too many years, will finally be reauthorized.”

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The original bill ensured legal protections for women from domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The reauthorization will expand those protections, including for Native American, transgender and immigrant women, and will strengthen rape prevention and education efforts as well as training for those in law enforcement and the judicial system.

“This long-overdue reauthorization will help protect survivors,” he said.

Other provisions included in the bipartisan funding bill include $13.6 billion in emergency security and humanitarian funding for Ukraine, and $15.6 billion for domestic coronavirus response. The House is slated to vote Wednesday on the long-term spending bill.

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President Biden — who helped write the original Violence Against Women Act nearly three decades ago, when he was a senator from Delaware — has called its reauthorization a “critical” priority, and noted last month that the law has been reauthorized three times with broad bipartisan support since 1994.

“When I first wrote and championed the original VAWA legislation, it helped break a dam of congressional and cultural resistance that too often saw domestic violence as a ‘family issue,’ with legal and social burdens placed on survivors rather than perpetrators,” Biden said in a statement last month. “And while studies have shown that domestic violence and sexual assault rates have declined significantly since VAWA took effect, we know that we still have work to do.”

The House voted last March to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, with 29 Republicans joining Democrats in a 244-to-172 vote. Republicans and the National Rifle Association opposed the broader VAWA legislation over a provision that would have closed the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by banning dating partners and stalkers convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms.

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Last month, in a news conference that featured the actress and activist Angelina Jolie, a bipartisan group of senators announced they had reached an agreement to renew the Violence Against Women Act — but only after dropping the provision that would have closed the boyfriend loophole.

“In order to get anywhere near 60 votes, that provision became controversial, and we had to measure the remainder of the bill against that provision. It’s a tough choice, and we made the choice we thought was right,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said then.

Colby Itkowitz and Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.


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