Violence Against Women Act Re-authorization

Legislation to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act is expected to be reintroduced in the 113th Congress.  The 112th Congress was not able to reach agreement on the re-authorization legislation in spite of efforts in the lame duck session.  After the election, Vice President Joseph Biden and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) tried to reach a compromise on the three controversial issues:  (1) broadening tribal authority to enforce restraining orders, (2) relaxing limits on temporary U visas for immigrant women who have been victims of domestic violence, and (3) banning discrimination by grantees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

On December 3, 2012, Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced the Violence Against Indian Women Act of 2012 (H.R. 6625) that contained the Senate provision regarding tribal lands with a clarification that a defendant charged with a crime under this law would be able to petition the appropriate Federal district for removal.  Some saw the introduction of H.R. 6625 as a compromise that would allow Congress to send a VAWA re-authorization to the President’s desk, but the proposal met with some House GOP resistance. Efforts continue to reach agreement on re-authorization legislation. Virtually all of the major court organizations have supported the re-authorization.

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