VAWA Update: House Judiciary Committee Passes VAWA Bill Without Key Tribal Provisions

Published on May 09, 2012

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed the Adams (R-FL) version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), H.R. 4970.  Tribal advocates—as well as women’s advocates across the nation—worked very hard over the past few weeks to defeat this partisan bill that excludes key protections for Native women and rolls back protections for other vulnerable populations.  But, in a near party-line 17-15 vote (Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) crossed the aisle and voted against the bill’s passage), H.R. 4970 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is expected to come to the House floor for consideration by the full House of Representatives as early as next week.

In yesterday’s committee markup, a substitute amendment offered by Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) that closely mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill was not even allowed to be considered or debated. Numerous amendments were offered by committee members that aimed to improve the Adams bill, but these amendments were consistently defeated by the House committee majority.  Representative Issa (R-CA) made a powerful statement in support of tribal sovereignty and offered an amendment that would have restored the critical tribal criminal jurisdictional provisions in Section 904 of the bipartisan Senate bill, but he was forced to withdraw his amendment when members of his own party threatened to rule it out of order because it was not “germane.” 

Despite the disappointing results of yesterday’s committee markup, we still have a real chance at getting the key Title IX tribal amendments included in H.R. 4970 through a floor amendment.  Please contact your U.S. Representatives right away and urge them to support a floor amendment to H.R. 4970 that would restore the critical protections for Native women contained in the bipartisan Senate bill. 

Click here for a sample letter to send to your Representative. 

Click here for talking points on the tribal provisions that need to be included in H.R. 4970. 

And don’t forget to call Representative Issa (R-CA) at 202-225-3906 and thank him for standing up for the protection of Native women and tribal sovereignty in yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee markup hearing. 

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