This week is: THANK YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF VAWA WEEK

S.1925, the “real” VAWA, has 54 Senate sponsors!!!  We have set March 20th—the first day of spring to reach our goal of 60 filibuster-proof sponsors.  Last week, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) signed on so we are only 6 senators shy of our goal!

We can do it! 

In the meantime, everyone needs to thank the 54 Senate champions and thank your Representative for speaking out in support of VAWA, for being a champion in the past and/or for being willing to work with Judiciary Chairmen Lamar Smith (R-TX) and John Conyers (D-MI) .

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Suggested actions for this week include:

  1. Let’s get to 60 co-sponsors of S. 1925!  Both the House and Senate are back in DC this week, so if your Senator is not a VAWA sponsor, call them at their Hill office, ask for the staff person who handles VAWA and offer to help them convince their Senator to sponsor S.1925. 
  2. Use the local media and press to thank your Members who are supportive and to wonder why the others are not on board. 
  3. Ask for meetings or conference calls with your House member to discuss VAWA.  The bill may be introduced in the next 3-4 weeks and we want everyone on board. 

Action 1:  If  your Senator is one of the 46 who are NOT sponsors of VAWA, call their office today  and ask them to co-sponsor S.1925.  Click here for their contact info.   When you call, tell your Senator that only S.1925 represents real, critical, lifesaving protections for ALL victims and all other versions fall short. Check out our new talking points here to find out why S.1925 is the only REAL VAWA. For a list of sponsors, click here and type in the bill S.1925.  Please thank your Senator if he/she is already a co-sponsor.  Don’t panic if the latest sponsors aren’t there – it takes a few days for their names to be posted. 

Suggested Senators who should be a VAWA sponsor: 7 Senators have been VAWA sponsors in the past. Maybe they just need to be reminded and for sure they need to be persuaded.  VAWA programs and services are under-funded and under attack.  It’s time to step up for victims of sexual assault and dating, domestic and stalking violence.  Cochran, Thad  (R - MS), Cornyn, John (R - TX), Grassley, Chuck (R - IA), Hatch, Orrin (R - UT), Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R – TX),  Pryor, Mark (D - AR), Snowe, Olympia (R - ME).

There is one new Senator who OUGHT to be a sponsor of VAWA!  Please contact him today: Udall, Mark (D - CO),  and others who have expressed interest in VAWA and have been supportive of program funding and services in the past. Ask them to step up to this crisis: Alexander, Lamar (R – TN), Ayotte, Kelly - (R - NH), Enzi, Michael (R – WY), Graham, Lindsey (R - SC), Heller, Dean (R – NV), Kyl, Jon - (R - AZ),  Lugar, Richard (R - IN), and Manchin, Joe (D - WV). 

 

Action 2: As part of our thank you effort, make sure your thanks get into the local paper or on the web. Good examples of state and local organizations and coalitions issuing press releases and web spots featuring VAWA’s champions can be seen below:

  • In Texas, the state DV and SA coalitions issued a joint statement:  CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE LAMAR SMITH AND CONGRESSMAN TED POE HIGHLIGHT SUCCESSES OF THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT IN TEXAS AND SUPPORT VAWA REAUTHORIZATION and highlighted important public statements by their state’s Members: Chairman Smith noted his continuing strong support of VAWA since initial passage in 1994, and he further declared, “It is essential that programs like these are in place to protect victims not just from physical bruises but from the emotional and mental scars as well.  Funding through VAWA has helped women escape abuse and rebuild their lives.” Congressman Poe reflected on his experience as a long time judge in Harris County: “I remember when domestic violence was treated by law enforcement as a family problem, not as social health issue or a crime.  I am glad we have moved away from that concept.  We’re not talking about statistics here, we’re talking about real people that are hurt by others who claim they love these people.”
  • In Delaware,  the state DV coalition joined with a county Police Lieutenant Teresa Williams and VAWA sponsor Senator Chris Coons to promote VAWA. Click here to see the coverage.   

Action 3: Continue thanking and talking to members of the House Judiciary Committee – they are the ones who will vote on VAWA and determine its content. Especially thank Representatives present at the House Judiciary Hearing on Thursday, February 16 and ask them to support REAL VAWA reauthorization! All members present (Chair Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Minority Leader Scott (D-VA), and Reps. Poe (R-TX), Adams (R-FL), Gowdy (R-SC), Chu (D-CA), Johnson (D-GA), and Chaffetz (R-UT)) had something positive to say about VAWA. We were all particularly moved by Rep. Gowdy’s statement. You can view the webcast here (go to 1:05 to listen to Congressman Gowdy’s comments). Listen to your representative’s testimony, thank them for attending the hearing, and urge them to support the REAL VAWA! Whether your Judiciary Committee Rep attended or not, call them today with this message: “Support REAL VAWA reauthorization!” The House needs to hear a loud and clear message from advocates NOW that only the language in S.1925 represents REAL VAWA reauthorization. Anything less fails to meet the needs of ALL victims. Use our talking points on this issue when you make your call.

Set up meetings in your state or ask for a conference call with your Representative or a senior staff person to talk with you and other VAWA supporters. In Joliet, IL, local advocates met with Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL) and heard positive support from her and reported the meeting to the local paper.  Click here to read the story.  

 

To see if your Senator has signed on to VAWA, click here go to  and type in S.1925 in the bill search box.  The Senate has been out of session for a week so any new sponsors may not have been added.