John Cornyn: Violence Against Women Act Too Important for Divisive Tactics
Violence Against Women Act is too important to be used as a wedge issue and fund-rasing tool
March 19, 2012
The Violence Against Women Act has been a true bipartisan success story since it was first enacted in 1994. In my home state of Texas alone, its programs have helped hundreds of thousands of victims to break free from the terrible cycle of domestic violence. During my time as Texas attorney general, I was proud to work closely with victims-rights groups across the state while spearheading a successful effort to greatly expand the resources available to crime victims. The results have been real, and the process has represented the very best in American government.
The Violence Against Women Act's greatest strength has always been its broad bipartisan support. As we move forward with the process of reauthorizing this act, I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will keep this in mind. However, as recent media reports have suggested, there are some who may attempt to use this legislation as a divisive wedge issue and fund-raising tool. The Violence Against Women Act is far too important to be dragged through the mud of election-year politics.
A vast majority of Republicans are on the record saying that they believe the Violence Against Women Act should be reauthorized. Let me be clear: I believe that Violence Against Women Act must be reauthorized. In fact, I have cosponsored legislation with Sen. Chuck Grassley that would do just that. Though our legislation did not pass in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that it is fiscally responsible and contains some common sense proposals that would strengthen the bill moving forward. For instance, it would increase grantee accountability, close loopholes in sex trafficking laws, and alleviate the nationwide rape kit backlog. I believe these proposals should be considered as the reauthorization process continues.
Though reasonable minds can differ on specific issues, reauthorizing Violence Against Women Act should be a matter of bipartisan principle. Over the next few weeks, I hope that members of Congress from both parties will set aside their political differences, sit down at the table, and find a solution that can pass with overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Families in Texas and the United States deserve results, not more Washington games.