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NADLER’S STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD & VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2018

Sep 26, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Today, ahead of planned testimony in the Senate on Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats at a press event in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her courageous decision to come forward to tell her story.

At the press conference, Ranking Member Nadler also discussed Republicans’ failure to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  In July 2018, Subcommittee on Crime Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee and Ranking Member Nadler introduced the 2018 reauthorization of VAWA.

Below are Ranking Member Nadler’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“I am proud to join my colleagues in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has shown incredible courage in coming forward with her accusations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. We applaud her strength in testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, just as we applaud the now two other women who have come forward with their stories.

“Women deserve to be heard. They deserve to tell their stories. There must be a full and respectful investigation of their accusations. Unfortunately, that is not what will happen in the Senate this week.

“Judge Kavanaugh now stands accused of at least two instances of sexual assault and impropriety. He also stands poised to take a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court – a lifetime appointment that will give him immense power to determine the right of every American to access health care, to start a family, to vote, or just simply to live in this country.  

“The fact that the Senate would rush this nomination forward without a full and fair investigation of these accusations against Judge Kavanaugh is shocking. From the beginning, the nomination process has been flawed. The confirmation hearing was rushed; thousands of documents were omitted from the review process; ongoing questions about perjury linger; and now at least two accusations of sexual assault stand uninvestigated. Even the hearing this week has been tossed together, with Senate Republicans seeming to make up the rules as they go along—all in an effort to wrap this up as quickly as possible, even scheduling a vote 24 hours after the hearing.

“What is the rush? What are they so afraid of? Republicans have refused to slow down, to seek answers, or to consider the gravity of their responsibility to confirm Supreme Court Justices. These are the same Republicans who delayed the consideration of Merrick Garland’s nomination for 239 days simply because he was nominated by President Obama.

“Ironically, while Republicans in the Senate rush the President’s Supreme Court nominee to confirmation amid serious accusations of sexual assault, Republicans in the House have taken no action to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the very legislation first enacted over 20 years ago to reduce sexual assault and intimate partner violence. 

“VAWA expires September 30. That’s this Sunday. And Republicans have done next to nothing to renew it. But we have been standing ready to work with them since July, when I joined Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to introduce a five year reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. This legislation expands the existing protections of VAWA, modernizes and updates its programs, and responds to the needs identified by the survivors and advocates.

“The bill also takes concrete steps to increase funding to be used for sexual assault and harassment prevention. Republicans have refused to consider our legislation, choosing, instead, to opt for attaching a three-month extension of the 2013 legislation to a must-pass spending bill and leaving town. Americans deserve more than short term VAWA extensions which threaten the livelihood and stability of critical programs.

“Supporting VAWA used to be a bipartisan, bicameral effort. This reauthorization should be no different. It is now more important than ever that we strengthen VAWA’s protections by passing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018. I urge my colleagues in the Senate and in the House to work with us to prioritize VAWA’s reauthorization. Not in December, not next year, but right now.

“To Dr. Ford, we proudly stand with you.

“To my Senate colleagues, history has its eyes on you.

“Lastly, to the survivors – those who have come forward and those who cannot – we stand with you. We defend your right to be believed. We will fight with you. And we will continue to do all that we can to stop the cycle of violence, harassment, and assault that impacts millions of women, men, and children every day.”

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018 expands the existing protections of VAWA, modernizes and updates its programs, and responds to the needs identified by the survivors and advocates who devote their lives to ending intimate partner violence.

A copy of the bill is available here.

VAWA section by section is available here.

Issues: 
115th Congress