Statement ● Human and Civil Rights
For Immediate Release: 
April 3, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the Floor today in support of legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Below is a link to the video and excerpts from his remarks:
 
Click here to watch the full remarks.
 
“This legislation was introduced by Representative Karen Bass. It’s a five-year reauthorization. The gentlelady from Texas who just spoke, [Rep. Sheila Jackson] Lee, did a lot of work on this bill in the Judiciary Committee as well. I thank her for her leadership in this effort.”

“[Rep. Bass’] bill would improve on current law by expanding existing grants that make communities safer and protect vulnerable populations, including Native American women. Why wouldn’t we do that? I can’t think of a reason. It would also improve economic assistance and security for survivors struggling with unemployment or financial hardship due to the abusive relationship to which they had been exposed. It would also ensure that the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women remains open and is not merged into another office or de-emphasized. And very importantly, the bill closes loopholes in gun laws to help prevent intimate partner homicides, an all too frequent happening."

“According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people every minute, 20 people every minute, are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. That is a tragedy and a crisis. One-in-four women experience severe intimate partner physical violence, and one-in-seven have been stalked by an intimate partner to the point at which she felt very fearful, or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk – hear me – increases the risk of homicide by 500%.”

“That is why we aim to close gun loopholes by expanding the definition of intimate partners to include dating or former dating partners. It is also why this bill has language preventing anybody convicted of a misdemeanor crime of stalking from obtaining a gun.”

“I am deeply disappointed that some Republican Members of this House are using the NRA as cover to vote against this reauthorization, which has been overwhelmingly in a bipartisan fashion reauthorized over and over again. These are commonsense protections that prevent domestic abusers from obtaining the guns that have sadly been used so frequently to harm or kill their partners.”

“My colleagues, I urge every Member to vote for this reauthorization. Let's make this renewal of the Violence Against Women Act as strongly bipartisan as the House's support for the law used to be.”

“Let's send a resounding message that the House stands with the victims, and survivors, and law enforcement and will do its job to help them and prevent domestic violence and abuse, which have no place in our society, but are tragically, too often, per minute, perpetrated in our country. Let's make it safer for women, for families, the children they care for. Let's pass this bill, let’s reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.”