**At a Press Conference this Afternoon Announcing the Legislation, Shaheen Joined Senator Dianne Feinstein and Members of the Democratic Caucus to Introduce Senate Companion Legislation to the House-Passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act**
(Washington) – Today, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and all 47 Democratic Senators in introducing the Senate companion to the House-passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. The legislation – which would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through 2024 – includes important updates and reforms to the existing law to ensure women are protected and that survivors don’t face discrimination.
“Community organizations in New Hampshire and across the country rely on support from Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs that protect and assist survivors of domestic assault and sexual violence,” said Senator Shaheen. “Congress never should have allowed VAWA to expire in the first place, and it’s egregious that Senator McConnell is impeding important measures like this from moving forward. This Republican obstruction will have a direct impact on the well-being of Granite Staters if the political games don’t end. I’m proud to stand with Senator Feinstein to lead this reauthorization legislation and I’ll keep working to get this bill through Congress.”
“The Violence Against Women Act has helped to break down barriers that once silenced survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and has helped countless people receive the critical, life-saving support that they need,” Senator Hassan said. “I urge Majority Leader McConnell to bring this bill to the Senate floor so that Congress can finally reauthorize this essential program and ensure that abusers are brought to justice, survivors are supported, and communities are prepared to respond when these horrendous events occur.”
“We’re introducing the Senate companion to the House-passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act today because it’s a strong bill and protects women from abuse,” Senator Feinstein said. “The House passed its bill 263 to 158 with 33 Republicans voting yes. There’s no reason that the bill shouldn’t receive the same broad support in the Senate.”
Senator Feinstein continued: “I’ve been working with Senator Ernst on a bipartisan path forward and plan to continue those negotiations. Given the overwhelming House vote and the strength of that bill, however, now is the right time to introduce it. Make no mistake, there’s a dire need for this legislation. A quarter of American women will be the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes. More than a third of all women will be raped, assaulted or stalked. And the numbers are worse for Native American women, of whom some 84 percent will experience violence. Making VAWA stronger will help us lower those tragic numbers.”
Key provisions in the bill:
Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to safeguard the Office on Violence Against Women and programs operated under the Violence Against Women Act. The only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Shaheen has been a relentless advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the world. In the last Congress, Senator Shaheen led the bipartisan effort to reintroduce the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which would ensure combating gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States. As the lead Democrat of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Shaheen has repeatedly negotiated record-level federal funding to support grants provided through the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). In the fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding legislation, Shaheen procured $497.5 million, the highest level to date, for VAWA grants administered by the OVW. Shaheen successfully secured $500 million in VAWA programming in spending legislation that recently passed the Senate. Shaheen fought to reauthorize VAWA in 2013, working to help end the gridlock that had prevented its passage.