The House of Representatives passed legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on May 16. The legislation, H.R. 4970, passed by a vote of 222 to 205.
The House-passed bill differs significantly from the VAWA legislation passed by the Senate, S. 1925 (see Memo, 4/27). Specifically, H.R. 4970 does not include provisions related to three key issues that were included in the Senate bill:
- The ability for tribal authorities to prosecute domestic violence cases that occur on tribal land.
- Assurances that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered victims of domestic violence are covered by VAWA protections.
- Protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence (see Memo, 5/11).
NLIHC co-signed a letter in opposition to the House-passed bill prior to its consideration on the floor. Further, prior to the House vote, six domestic violence and housing organizations sent a letter to House Committee on the Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) with concerns about two aspects of the housing provisions of the House bill:
- H.R. 4970 would make voluntary the emergency transfer provisions required in S. 1925, and
- H.R. 4790 lacks previously included language that would require victims to be informed of their VAWA rights upon eviction (see Memo, 5/11).
The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) in opposition to the House VAWA bill on May 15. In the SAP, the White House says, “the bill also weakens critical new provisions in the Senate-passed bill that would improve safety for victims living in subsidized housing.”
The House and Senate are expected to soon name conferees to negotiate a final VAWA bill.
Click here to view the White House SAP.
The letter in opposition to the House VAWA bill and the letter in opposition to the housing provisions in the VAWA bill are attached.