NCAI Urges Bipartisanship Action for Violence Against Women Act

December 13, 2012



News has been circulating this week that a move could be made on the part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the tribal provisions that are within it.

As the final days of the Lame Duck session are coming to a close, the National Congress of American Indians released a statement on December 12, encouraging a bipartisan movement to pass the VAWA reauthorization, including the critical tribal provisions of the bill.

NCAI focused its attention on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and authors of the recent Senate and House legislation to continue with discussions hopefully leading to the bills final legislation.

“We believe there is a path to bipartisan agreement on the tribal provisions of VAWA. We remain hopeful that a comprehensive VAWA bill can and will move forward before this session of Congress ends,” said Jacqueline Pata, executive director of NCAI in a press release. “It’s hero time on both sides of the isle, and we believe all the discussions happening on VAWA, in addition to the discussions surrounding the [Darrell] Issa/[Tom] Cole version, will be successful and will protect all women, including Native women.”

NCAI announced its support for H.R. 6625, a new stand-alone House version of VAWA introduced by Issa (R-CA) and Cole (R-OK) last week, in a letter to Senate authors of VAWA Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). The House version contains language addressing court jurisdiction and tribal judicial parity in prosecuting non-Indian defendants.

Leahy acknowledged a letter by NCAI with an optimistic response, ““the National Congress of American Indians has urged Senator Crapo and me ‘to take a serious look at the Issa/Cole provision.’ We are. I urge the House Republican leadership to do so, as well.”

A similar letter was sent on December 11 to House Speaker John Boehner and Cantor for action on VAWA according to the release as female tribal leaders and members of NCAI’s Violence Against Women Task Force actively meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

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