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Last week, Republican Leadership included in a Continuing Resolution (CR) aimed at funding the government through December 7, 2018, a 3-month extension of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The NIWRC and Board Members reached out to various members of Congress to let them know that an extension was unacceptable and that it does not amount to reauthorization. We joined our national partners and the NTF in expressing disappointment with Congress. Together with our national partners, we have consistently engaged in good faith discussions regarding VAWA with House and Senate leadership for over a year and half in order to educate on the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native Survivors. The bill itself was part of a must-pass mini omnibus and various members of Congress have speculated why (see  Nancy Pelosi has called the 3-month extension an “Abdication of our responsibilities to women.” Again, we wish to remind the field and the advocates who work tirelessly on these issues, that this 3-month extension is NOT the same as a reauthorization, nor does it amount to passage of meaningful VAWA legislation that addresses the needs of marginalized communities.

The CR text states that “any program, authority or provision, including any pilot program, authorized under the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 shall continue in effect through December 7, 2018.” (see

This language will not address the urgent needs of survivors with respect to the current issues in Title IX “Safety for Indian Women.” Rather, all this language does is continue funding for existing programs through the date of the CR (12/7/18). It does not address jurisdictional gaps, The Maine fix, The Alaska Fix, a permanent fix for Victims of Crime Act Funding, funding for the Tribal Access Program, the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, or the overall need to strengthen the ability of tribes to respond to violence in their communities. We will continue to call upon Senate and House Leadership to engage in discussions around meaningful legislative fixes…fixes that are needed NOW.

Two additional bills have been dropped by House Republicans, of which the field also needs to be aware. The first bill was introduced by Elise Stefanik on September 13, 2018. She was joined by Rep. John Faso (R-NY-19) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-08). The Representatives are calling this bill a “six-month clean extension of the expiring provisions of the Violence Against Women Act.”  However, Stefanik’s bill (see is not a clean extension of the VAWA as the proposed bill substantially cuts essential funding relative to the tribal provisions.



Authorized Funding

Stefanik’s Bill

Section 904. Authorizing Funding for the Tribal Access Program



Section 907. Tribal Jurisdiction over crimes of domestic violence, sexual violence, sex trafficking, stalking, child violence and violence against law enforcement officers



Section 908. National Baseline Study




The second bill was introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX-2) on September 13, 2018. The bill is entitled H.R.6797, a bill “To reauthorize Department of Justice Programs that combat violence against women, and for other purposes.” It does not have any cosponsors at the moment, and the bill text is still not available. It is critical to note that both bills were dropped absent any outreach or negotiation with the field. Advocates were not consulted, national organizations were given zero advance notice, and none of the Representatives of these bills have been involved in any ongoing conversations regarding the 2018 reauthorization of the VAWA. Both of these bills could be interpreted as a political play to avoid having to pass meaningful life-saving bipartisan legislation going into the mid-terms.

While it is certainly important that programs continue to receive funding for the critical services provided to survivors of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and other forms of violence, it is important to note that these bills do not represent the good faith discussions that the field has been conducting with Senate and House Leadership. These two bills represent a sidestepping of the established process that Leadership and advocates have actively engaged in for over a year and a half in order to reauthorize a VAWA that improves upon the VAWA 2013 by addressing the needs of communities as identified and elevated by survivors.


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