36 Legislators Ask Congress to Act, Only One Republican Supports VAWA

(MADISON) Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) joined with 35 other legislators signing a letter to Congress urging passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  The Violence Against Women Act has been the subject of Congressional stalemate, and failure to reauthorize the law could cost Wisconsin millions in funding that pays for Child Advocacy Centers, Sexual Assault Prevention programs, Special Prosecution units, and other local violence prevention measures.  The letter, addressed to the entire Wisconsin congressional delegation, called for Congress to “act without delay to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act…”

“The Violence Against Women Act has been one of the most successful pieces of legislation ever to reduce crime and prevent violence and assault against women,” Taylor noted. “Unfortunately, partisan politics are interfering with its reauthorization.  As the US Senate prepares to vote this week on this important bill, I hope that the voice of Wisconsin women are heard loud and clear about this state’s support for this law.”

The Violence Against Women Act was enacted in 1994 with the hard work of now Vice-President Joe Biden.  The law has been successfully reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 with the support of both parties.  The 2012 reauthorization is now in danger due to pushback from the GOP in the US Senate and House.  Wisconsin has received $7.5 million dollars a year from this law to help reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, and abuse.

“It’s a shame that only one Wisconsin Republican added their name to this letter.  Just a few short years ago, we all joined together and put partisanship aside for the sake of women’s lives and safety,” Taylor concluded. “With this letter, it appears that partisanship and ideological extremes will go to any length to exercise their power.  The congressional delegation from Wisconsin must reauthorize VAWA and save funding and resources for prevention from Racine to Superior, Wausau to La Crosse.”

Rep. Dick Spanbauer (R-Oshkosh) was the only Republican to sign the letter to Congress.  Taylor urges citizens to contact Senators Kohl and Johnson and urge their support of the Violence Against Women Act when it is called for a vote this week in the US Senate.