September 15, 2012 | Categories: CALL TO ACTION, Domestic Violence Benefits, Funding, Global Communities, HR 4970 - Reauthorization of VAWA, Immigrants, Native American Tribal Laws, STATE REPRESENTED, VAWA RE-AUTHORIZATION, Victim Assistance History, Victim Rights Week Activities | Tags: Petition, Signing of pettion | 1 Comment »
Yesterday’s Congressional Embarrassments, Explained
By: David Dayen Thursday May 17, 2012 12:40 pm
US Capitol (photo by Truthout.org/flickr)
Let’s recap one of the more pathetic days in a pathetic Congressional session.
In the House, voting concluded on the GOP version of the Violence Against Women Act, a real marker into the rightward shift of that party. On previous occasions with GOP control of Congress, VAWA was reauthorized without incident. This time around, however, while the Senate passed a reauthorization with bipartisan support, 31 Republicans still voted against it. And in the House, the Republicans deleted key measures that would weaken the status quo of the law, eliminating protections for Native Americans, LGBT couples and undocumented immigrants. This drew a veto threat from the White House, and enough negative criticism that the House GOP, with a “manager’s amendment,” pretended to “fix” the bill. The revealing data point here is that hundreds of women’s groups objected to the House version of the bill, but a misogynistic group called the National Coalition for Men endorsed it. Even Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski wrote to House Republicans to implore them to just pass the Senate version of the bill, to no avail.
The bill narrowly passed, with 22 Republicans opposing it. Unbelievably, six Democrats voted for the bill, some to avoid the stigma of “voting against the Violence Against Women Act,” I presume. (Nevada Senate hopeful Shelley Berkley was one of them; the others were ConservaDems John Barrow, David Boren, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre and Collin Peterson.)
Over in the Senate, the entire day was taken up by a series of votes on budget measures, none of which had any chance of passing. The Democratic position is that last year’s debt limit deal effectively locked in place the spending targets you would see in a budget resolution, meaning there’s no need to pass one right now. But Republicans forced the issue to embarrass the opposition. And while they succeeded in getting a 0-99 vote for what they called the “President’s budget,” Republicans also voted in large majorities on two occasions for budgets by Paul Ryan and Pat Toomey, which not only end Medicare as we know it and make a number of other unpopular cuts to social programs, but which also allow student loan interest rates to double, after Senate Republicans said specifically they wanted to avoid that outcome.
The budget votes were largely a Republican effort to embarrass President Obama and Democrats for failing to coalesce around a long-term fiscal vision. But it also presented an opportunity for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) to needle the GOP on a contradiction.
“Does this budget permit the interest rates on student loans to double on July 1?” Harkin asked of the Ryan budget, which has already passed the House.
“It does,” Conrad replied.
“Thank you, senator,” Harkin said.
So there you have it; ideological crusades, unproductive vote-a-ramas, massive contradictions – there’s your 2011-2012 Congress.
Today should be a bit better; the Senate will probably confirm two nominees to vacancies at the Federal Reserve after having rejected other nominees for these positions previously.
May 17, 2012 | Categories: CALL TO ACTION, HR 4970 - Reauthorization of VAWA, Native American Tribal Laws, VAWA RE-AUTHORIZATION | Tags: Republicans passed their 4970 bill; lack of protection of victims and survivors, Tribal Law, VAWA Reauthorization | Leave A Comment »
This is so very disappointing…….
House Passes VAWA with Weakened Tribal Provisions; NCAI Voices Serious Concerns Regarding HR�4970
NCAI Calls for House and Senate to Restore Bi-Partisan Tribal Provisions of S.1925
Washington, DC (May 16, 2012) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted and passed a version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization – HR 4970 – without any of the key tribal jurisdictional provisions intact. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has serious concerns about the alternative provisions contained in the House bill and is calling on the House and Senate to restore the bipartisan and constitutionally sound tribal provisions in the Senate version of the bill, S.1925, that create local solutions to the epidemic of domestic violence experienced by Native women.
“Native women aren’t safer as a result of the passage of HR 4970. In fact, the tribal provisions included in this bill create additional hurdles for Indian women seeking protection from violence on tribal lands, and that is unacceptable,” said Juana Majel-Dixon, 1st Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and co-chair of the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women. “Indian Country supports the bipartisan Senate VAWA bill, which contains constitutionally sound tribal provisions that provide local solutions that will deliver long-overdue justice to Native women and safety to tribal communities.”
Passed by a vote of 222-205, the tribal provisions included in HR 4970 would be a step backward in contrast to the bipartisan Senate VAWA bill, supported by NCAI and tribes across the country. Over the past few days, H.R. 4970 has been amended to include provisions that have the potential to cause great confusion surrounding tribes’ authority to issue civil protection orders and that could further endanger Native victims.
HR 4970 would “federalize” the issuance and enforcement of protection orders for Native victims, authorizing Indian victims of domestic violence or Indian tribes on behalf of Indian victims to seek protection orders from U.S. district courts against suspects of abuse. This approach fails to address the crux of the problem – a lack of local authority to handle misdemeanor level domestic and dating violence when the perpetrator is non-Indian. The legislation passed by the House is drafted in a way that undermines the safety and autonomy of victims.
On the other hand, S.1925 contains key tribal provisions that would empower the governmental authorities closest to the alleged criminal activity-tribal police and courts-to intervene early in acts of domestic violence committed by non-Indians within the tribe’s territory, before the violence escalates to the point of serious assault or homicide. These provisions are limited in scope, do not infringe on existing federal or state court jurisdiction, and defendants who stand trial before a tribal court would have the full panoply of constitutional rights.
via House Passes VAWA with Weakened Tribal Provisions; NCAI Voices Serious Concerns Regarding HR 4970 | Tribal Law Updates.
via House Passes VAWA with Weakened Tribal Provisions; NCAI Voices Serious Concerns Regarding HR 4970 | Tribal Law Updates.
Spread the word »
Tell Your Representative to Vote
Against H.R. 4970, the Adams VAWA Bill
May 15, 2012
TAKE ACTION: The House of Representatives is expected to vote on Wednesday, May 16, for the Republican version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4970), which not only eliminates important provisions included in the Senate-passed bipartisan bill (68-31, S. 1925), but contains new ones that would actually be dangerous to survivors of domestic violence while shielding abusers from accountability. The Republican leadership will not allow any floor amendments.
PLEASE CALL NOW – Call your House member as soon as possible to oppose H.R. 4970 (known as the Adams bill) and to urge that there be an open debate on the House floor with amendments permitted. NOW opposes H.R. 4970, and unless it can be amended to restore important protections, NOW will consider a vote for the bill to be a vote against VAWA and against victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-224-3121 end_of_the_skype_highlighting , and ask for your representative’s office. Or, you can look up the name and phone number of your representative right on NOW’s website.
Adams Bill is Racially Exclusionary and Puts Survivors at Risk – The House Judiciary Committee recently reported out a bill, sponsored by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), that rolls back protections for victims of violence and fails to include provisions included in the bipartisan Senate bill that would help Native American women, immigrant women, LGBT persons and college students. A much better bill (H.R. 4271) has been introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), but conservative leaders are not allowing this version to be offered for a vote. Additionally, no improvements to the Adams bill can be made if floor amendments are not permitted prior to the vote.
Your House Target List – More information on the “real VAWA” can be found on the website of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, including fact sheets, a toolkit, summaries of the legislation and other useful materials. Calling your House member (instead of sending an email) is critically important, as the vote is set to occur on Wednesday, May 16. Activists in the following states, especially, should contact their House member: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
New York Times Editorial: Backward on Domestic Violence, May 14
Here’s some suggested language for the call to your House member:
Vote Against H.R. 4970 – As a supporter of the National Organization for Women, I urge you to vote AGAINST, H.R. 4970, the Adams bill, which does not contain needed protections for victims of violence that I believe are critically important. I agree with NOW that a vote for the Adams bill is a vote against the Violence Against Women Act. I support a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that protects Native American women, immigrant women, and LGBT violence survivors. The Adams bill allows no opportunity for a discussion of humane alternatives that treat victims with respect and decency. There is support in the House for a reauthorization of VAWA that more closely resembles the Senate-passed bill (H.R. 1925), and members should have a chance to weigh the merits of alternatives to the Adams bill before they vote for final passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
Puts Victims in Grave Danger – The Adams bill completely undermines the spirit of the landmark bill passed 18 years ago. NOW is “scoring” this vote, meaning that we consider a vote for the Adams bill to be a vote against VAWA.
If your representative (or the staff member to whom you are speaking) indicates that she/he will vote against the Adams bill, please thank them, and encourage them to persuade other House members to do the same.
If your representative indicates that she/he intends to vote for the Adams bill, you may want to use these talking points:
» I strongly urge you not to support a bill that imposes cruel new reporting restrictions on immigrant survivors of violence — eliminating confidentiality, putting victims in grave danger and shielding abusers from accountability.
» Please do not abandon victims because of their racial and legal status.
» This second-class treatment of women of color smacks of willful ignorance of the problem and hostility toward the victims.
» I cannot support and vote for someone who claims to support ending violence against women but votes for a bill that is exclusionary and ignores the biases and disrespect that certain victims face when seeking help from the criminal justice system and access to life-saving services.
Call House Leaders – Finally, if you can, call the House leadership to tell them that you think H.R. 4970 harms victims and is not the real VAWA. Tell them that victims of violence deserve an open debate on the House floor, with amendments permitted. Call Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) at 202-225-0600 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-225-0600 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (leadership office) or 202-225-6205 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-225-6205 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (personal office), and call Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) at 202-225-4000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-225-4000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R. Calif.) at 202-225-2915 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-225-2915 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Thanks for all you do for NOW.