Cornyn Calls on House Democrats to Stop Holding Up VAWA, Debbie Smith Act

Today on the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) criticized House Democrats’ intransigence in passing critical victims’ rights bills, including the Violence Against Women Act and the reauthorization of his Debbie Smith Act. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s floor remarks are below, and video can be found here.

Congress has an opportunity to pass two separate pieces of legislation to support victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Sadly, both bills have gotten caught in the crosshairs of political jockeying in the House, with Democrats using a tit-for-tat strategy that has frozen both bills.

Earlier this year, Senator Feinstein and I introduced the Debbie Smith Act of 2019 which reauthorizes the important funding that supports the testing of this DNA evidence.

When the Senate voted in May, not a single senator voted against it. Not one. It was unanimous. But here we are nearly two months later and the House of Representatives hasn't lifted a finger.

They're actually holding it hostage to try to force a vote on their ultra-partisan version of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, the second piece of legislation they're stopping.

Democrats allowed the current Violence Against Women Act to expire over Republican objections so that they could maintain this leverage to pass their ultra-partisan version of VAWA sometime later.

Senator Ernst from Iowa has been working very hard to try to come up with a good bipartisan bill that deserves to be reauthorized and strengthened to ensure victims have access to the services and protections they need.

It's not fair to Debbie Smith and other victims of sexual assault for House Democrats to hold them hostage over a separate bill that's still being negotiated in good faith by members on both sides of the aisle.

Debbie has requested to meet with leadership in the House, and I strongly encourage them to take the time to talk to Debbie and hear her perspective on why this legislation is so critical and why it must be passed now.

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