Tester warns: Every day Congress doesn’t pass VAWA puts a ‘woman at risk’

The Violence Against Women Act, S. 47, would increase protections for victims of domestic violence to those in LGBT relationships, Native Americans and immigrants. VAWA provides federal funding to local communities in order to assist victims and encourage them to leave their dangerous situations.

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"It is an absolute disgrace that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime," Baucus said. "Our mothers, daughters and sisters deserve to know we will not tolerate violence against them."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) included VAWA in a list of bipartisan bills that passed in the Senate during the 112th Congress but that will have to be revisited because the House didn’t act on them. The bill has been placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar.

“Unfortunately, a number of bipartisan bills passed by the Senate during the last Congress were never acted upon by the House of Representatives. So this year the Senate will also revisit some of the legislative priorities of the 112th Congress,” Reid said on the floor Tuesday. “We will take up the Violence Against Women Act, the farm bill, historic reforms to save the United States Postal Service and legislation to make whole the victims of Hurricane Sandy.”

Republicans in the House didn’t bring up the Senate-passed VAWA bill because it expanded the program without cost offsets and because some disagreed with including non-citizens in the program. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash), a vocal advocate of VAWA, blamed House Republican leaders for refusing to take up the measure during the last Congress.

“In the days ahead, I encourage the moderate Republican voices in the House to call on their leadership to pass the bipartisan Senate bill,” Murray said Tuesday. “Too many women have been left vulnerable while House Republican leaders have played politics.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reintroduced the bill, which has more than 30 co-sponsors, earlier this week.