- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Obama signs expanded Violence Against Women Act
President Obama signed into law an expanded Violence Against Women Act that gives gays more access to anti-domestic violence resources and grants more authority to American Indian courts.
Standing alongside domestic-violence survivors, tribal leaders, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and several lawmakers, Mr. Obama signed the extension of the bill during a ceremony Thursday at the Interior Department.
“This is your day. This is the day of the advocates, the day of the survivors. This is your victory,” Mr. Obama said. “This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens.”
Earlier Thursday new government data demonstrated that the country had made progress in decreasing the number of violent incidents against women.
The rate of sexual violence against women and girls age 12 or older fell 64 percent over the last decade and has remained stable for five years, the Justice Department reported Thursday. Still, Mr. Obama said, 1 in 5 women will still be raped in their lifetime.
The president usually signs bills at the White House, but he said Interior provided a larger space for many public officials and advocates who worked on the legislation. Interior also oversees programs for American Indians, and a key provision of the new law bolsters federal protections for victims attacked on tribal land.
Before signing the bill, Mr. Obama heaped praise on Mr. Biden, who as a senator sponsored the original bill in 1994.
“One of the great legacies of this law is it didn’t just change the rules, it changed our culture,” Mr. Obama said. “It empowered people to start speaking out.”
Mr. Obama also singled out Republican Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine for a special word of thanks for supporting the bill despite opposition from many in her party.
The law strengthens criminal justice statutes for crimes against women. Congress easily renewed the law twice since 1994, but it lapsed in 2011 when Republicans wouldn’t agree to some of the new provisions Democrats wanted to add. Republicans held up a Senate-passed version that required states to include gays in federally funded or supported programs, and gave a legal status to illegal-immigrant domestic-violence victims.
The final version also allows tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians who attack their Native American partners on tribal lands. The Supreme Court ruled decades ago that tribes don’t have criminal authority over non-Indians, even if a crime be committed on Indian land.
After Mr. Obama called on Congress to pass the bill in his State of the Union Address in February, House Republicans agreed to schedule it for a vote. It passed 286-138.
The renewal provides some $659 million a year over five years to fund current programs that provide grants for transitional housing, legal assistance, law enforcement training and hotlines. It also has provisions to combat sex trafficking, adds stalking to the list of crimes that make immigrants eligible for protection, and authorizes additional funds for rape investigations as well as educational programs aimed at curbing sexual assault on college campuses.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.