US House reauthorises Violence Against Women Act

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Mar 18, 2021, 08:07 AM(IST)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with other senators Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The act had lapsed during the previous Congress. The original bill was first passed in 1994 and was championed by President Joe Biden, who was a US senator at the time. It was updated in 2000, 2005 and 2013.

The US House voted to reauthorise the Violence Against Women Act, which enshrines critical legal protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

The act had lapsed during the previous Congress. The original bill was first passed in 1994 and was championed by President Joe Biden, who was a US senator at the time. It was updated in 2000, 2005 and 2013.

The measure -- which would provide grants to groups addressing domestic violence, sexual assault and prevention, fund rape crisis centres and facilitate outreach in underserved communities -- passed on a bipartisan 244-172 vote. 

It also funds a first-time programme to fight domestic violence against LGBTQ individuals through the use of prevention education and training, and improves housing access for victims and survivors. 

Twenty-nine Republicans joined all Democrats present in supporting the measure.

The updated version of the Violence Against Women Act also closes the so-called dating partner and stalker loopholes by extending gun purchase bans to any ex-partner or stalker charged with domestic abuse, an element that could complicate passage of VAWA in the 50-50 Senate.

The 2019 version of VAWA passed the House, but the Senate's Republican leader at the time, Mitch McConnell, refused to put it to a vote.

Biden hailed the bill's passage in the House, calling the original one of his proudest legislative accomplishments, and urged the Senate to pass the measure.

"This should not be a Democratic or Republican issue -- it's about standing up against the abuse of power and preventing violence," he said in a statement.

The vote came against a backdrop of horrific violence against women in the United States.

On Tuesday, eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were murdered in three attacks at spas and massage parlors near Atlanta, Georgia.

Read in App