House passes child abuse bill in quick Monday work

The House on Monday quickly debated and passed a bill that would make it easier for the federal government to prosecute people guilty of child abuse.

Members approved H.R. 3627, the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act, in a voice vote.

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The bill requires the U.S. Attorney General to report to Congress on the various penalties for child abuse, an attempt to encourage states with relatively lax penalties to increase them. The legislation also includes language that supporters say would make the federal government a more active prosecutor of child abusers.

"H.R. 3627 helps to strengthen the federal response to child abuse and other forms of domestic violence in the Indian country and the special maritime and territorial jurisdictions by… allow[ing] prior convictions for the abuse of a child to trigger the offense of domestic assault by habitual offender," said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.). "This is a small but important change to the statute that will permit the federal government to prosecute more violent offenders."

The bill was named after a young girl from North Carolina who was severely beaten by her stepfather, and is suffering from brain damage.

The voice vote was the only scheduled legislative work for the day, and soon after the vote, the House adjourned until Tuesday.

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