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Rep. Buck Votes "NO" on Democrats' Reauthorization of VAWA, "YES" on Clean Reauthorization

March 17, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) voted against the Democrats' politicized and expanded reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. H.R. 1620 is not a clean reauthorization of the VAWA, rather a bill that injects unpopular liberal policies on race and gender into the fight against domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Rep. Buck instead voted “YES” on the Stefanik Amendment #36 to H.R. 1620. This amendment calls for a clean reauthorization of VAWA, which enhances training and services to end abuse, combats violent crimes on campuses and in the workplace, addresses the housing needs of abuse survivors, creates a stalker database, and strengthens the healthcare system’s response to abuse.
“I am proud to support a clean reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which stands up for sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors by ensuring programs to help survivors continue. Unfortunately, not a single Democrat voted for this Republican measure. Instead, Democrats passed a radical version of VAWA that is stuffed with controversial policies to fuel their own liberal interests,” Rep. Buck said.
  • H.R. 1620 jeopardizes the safety and wellbeing of women. The bill extends services to men who identify as women, allowing them to utilize programs specifically designed to protect and assist vulnerable women. The bill also expands the definition of domestic violence to include economic and emotional duress, reallocating resources away from combatting violent crimes. This expanded version of VAWA disregards the wellbeing of women by promoting lofty concepts, such as “restorative justice” approaches to crimes against women, which are unproven methods that could force a victim to confront her abuser. 
  • Law enforcement is the first line of defense for violence against women. Yet Democrats want to gut needed resources for law enforcement, preventing them from responding to calls for help from women and girls who are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. House Democrats want to defund and dismantle police departments, placing on them unfunded mandates to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Those funds could have been used to help fight domestic violence and sexual assault. 
  •  H.R. 1620 threatens Americans’ constitutional right to religious freedom. The bill denies faith-based exemptions for grant recipients, prohibiting religious organizations from running shelters and legal aid centers on the basis of their conscience and sincerely held beliefs— which could force many of these centers for abused women to close. 
  • Democrats deprived Members of serious consideration and debate. Democrats did not hold a single hearing or markup to consider H.R. 1620. Democrats made significant changes to their VAWA reauthorization package this year, including adding an entirely new Title into the legislation. In addition, Congress has not considered the effects of the global pandemic on the rates of violence against women in relation to this legislation. 
  • These programs will continue to be funded. Even though authorization lapsed in 2018, Congress has continued funding VAWA grant programs. For Fiscal Year 2021, funding levels for VAWA’s 19 grant programs were close to $580 million.