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BREAKING UPDATE: Feb. 27, 2013 - 5:30 p.m. EST
The House has just voted 414 to 9 to approve the rule on S. 47, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization. As a result, tomorrow - Thursday - the House will vote on the House Substitute VAWA bill, where we are urging a "No" vote. Here is a letter from Representative Tom Cole (OK) to his colleagues on why he is voting no on the House Substitute. When the House Substitute fails, there will be a vote on the bi-partisan Senate passed bill S.47, where we are urging a "Yes" vote. Please see the details below from our earlier Action Alert. Thank you for all of your work today to reach out to Members. We must continue our efforts until S.47 is passed in the House. Please let us know if there is anything we can provide.
------- Senate VAWA to Receive Vote in the House Protect Native Women!
Urge House to Vote No on Substitute and Yes on Senate-Passed Version!
There has been an important and TIME SENSITIVE development with VAWA. Yesterday, the House Rules Committee voted on a rule for House floor consideration of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. There will be a vote on the House substitute, and if the substitute fails, the House will vote on the full bipartisan Senate bill. Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), a member the House Rules Committee, stood and fiercely fought to defend the protections for Native women that are in the Senate version of the VAWA bill. He told his colleagues that he will vote NO on the House substitute and in favor of the Senate bill. These votes will happen on THURSDAY so we only have a few hours to act. S. 47 is a strong, bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Michael Crapo (R-ID). S. 47 will improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence. The bill includes historically important tribal provisions that will enable tribes to address domestic violence in Indian country. S. 47 passed by a vote of 78 - 22 with all 53 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 23 Republicans voting for the bill. The House substitute that would replace S. 47 should be defeated. The House substitute includes disincentives for tribal governments and tribal police to combat violence against Native women, it offers too many tools for non-Native suspects of abuse to game the already broken justice system, and it limits existing tribal authority to issue civil orders of protection against non-Natives who commit violence against Indian women. Your Members of Congress are listening to you! In the next two days, Members must hear loud and clear that they need to pass the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA! Be sure to refer to all the resources we've provided over the past few weeks; our toolkit, NCAI's opposition to the House Substitute, and our side-by-side comparison on the constitutional protections of tribal courts. A New York Times op-ed running today, by author Louise Erdrich, National Book Award winner for The Round House, is also something you'll want to read and share.
Your work has gotten us this far - let's get this done!
URGENT ACTION ITEM
Please call your Members in the House of Representatives and urge them to vote NO on the House substitute bill and then vote YES on the BIPARTISAN Senate version of S.47. Tell them that they can and must protect ALL victims of violence. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you to your Representatives. If you don't know who your Representatives are, you can look them up here http://www.house.gov/representatives/. When you're connected to their offices, ask to speak to the staff person who handles VAWA. Thank you for your work to advance the Violence Against Women Act and Protect Native Women! For further questions, please contact NCAI Staff Attorney, Derrick Beetso at (202) 466-7767 or email@example.com.
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.