March 17, 2021

Durbin, Feinstein, Leahy, Klobuchar Statement on House Passage of VAWA Reauthorization Act

Senators look to introduce VAWA reauthorization bill in the coming weeks

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statements after the House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021.  The Senators have been working to prepare companion legislation, which they hope to introduce in the coming weeks.

“The Violence Against Women Act has been a lifeline for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault across the country for more than 25 years,” Durbin said.  “Unfortunately, then-Majority Leader McConnell refused to call this critical bill to the Senate floor for a vote last Congress.  All while the COVID-19 pandemic presented particular challenges for people facing abusive situations and domestic violence.  With Democrats in the majority, I look forward to renewing and strengthening VAWA.”

“Survivors of domestic violence have waited too long for Congress to act. Now that the House has passed a strong VAWA reauthorization bill, it’s time for our Senate colleagues to join us and support this legislation that includes important updates supported by those advocates and service providers who are on the frontlines of this epidemic,” said Feinstein.

“The Violence Against Women Act has continued to be one of the most consequential laws addressing the scourge of violence against women that plagues our society.  The Violence Against Women Act has provided crucial support for programs and initiatives designed to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.  These programs have saved lives and helped to reduce violence against women nationwide,” Leahy said.  “I was proud to lead the last successful, bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA in 2013.  Unfortunately, VAWA has expired, and we must work quickly to not only reauthorize but to update this vital legislation.  Especially in the wake of a pandemic that has exacerbated the crisis of violence against women and other vulnerable populations like LGBTQ individuals, survivors need help and they need it now.  I stand ready to get to work on this important reauthorization.”

“For years I have made protecting victims of domestic violence one of my top priorities,” Klobuchar said. “The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act just passed by the House of Representatives will strengthen and improve protections and services for victims, including several provisions based on my bills to protect survivors from gun violence and improve law enforcement’s response to sexual assault crimes. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to follow the House’s lead and pass this legislation to protect women, children, and families.”

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