Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act


April 4, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I thank the gentlewoman for her leadership in presenting this important amendment to the Violence Against Women Act.

I thank the distinguished Chairman of the Committee for his leadership in bringing this VAWA reauthorization to the Floor.

I commend Karen Bass, the author of the legislation, the Chair of the subcommittee of jurisdiction.

And I want to recognize and acknowledge the work of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee over the years in terms of ending violence against women.

Again, we take an oath to protect the American people.  Nearly 25 years ago, Congress honored that oath when we enacted the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act – united our communities and our country in a fight against domestic violence in America.

Today, we honor that oath once more, passing strong, bipartisan, long-term VAWA reauthorization that will save lives.

Again, I want to salute Karen Bass, a champion for women’s safety and security as Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.  And the many champions of VAWA in the Congress who have made today possible.  Again, I acknowledge Congresswoman Jackson Lee.

We thank all of the survivors, victims and advocates who have shown generosity of spirit to tell their stories.  Nothing is more eloquent or effective than the stories that show this is not a legislative fight or issues fight, it’s a personal fight about America’s families.

I commend Congresswoman Torres Small for this important amendment that recognizes and ensures that all provisions of the bill comply with current immigration law.  This isn’t a bill about immigration, but we want to make that assertion.  Thank you, Congresswoman Torres Small.

We’re pleased the bill is bipartisan.  There should be nothing partisan or political about ending the scourge of domestic violence and sexual assault, which one in three women faces today.

Madam Speaker, the – with this bill we’re reinforcing what we did 25 years ago, what we did in 2013.  We’re making it stronger with the legislation today with lifesaving updates that reflect the voices of victims and survivors and the input of experts.

With this bill, we’re empowering law enforcement and making new investments in prevention.  We’re improving lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  We’re supporting survivors with protection against discrimination in the workplace and supporting their financial security.  We’re closing dangerous loopholes in our laws that, right now, allow those who have been convicted of stalking or dating violence to obtain firearms.

These are commonsense reforms that will save lives and that no one should object to.

We’re strengthening protections for Native American women because every woman, everywhere has the right to live free from abuse.  We thank the Indian country and Native American women for their input on this.

Aren’t we blessed now to have the first time in American history two Native American women serving in Congress of the United States?  Congresswoman Sharice Davids of Kansas and Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico, and they have already made their presence felt.

This bill has historically been bipartisan.  We urge all Members to join us in a strong bipartisan vote for this bill, which honors our oath and upholds our values and saves lives.

Again, I urge a yes vote and yield back the balance of my time.