Congressman signs on to letter to House Republican Leadership calling for action

Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15) took a step to make Republican House Leadership aware of his continued support for bringing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to the House floor for a vote and passage.

Dent joined with 15 other Representatives to sign a letter penned by Jon Runyan (NJ-3) asking Speaker of the House John Boehner and Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor to move immediately to reauthorize the Act.

VAWA provides funding for critical programs that aid women either in danger or who have already been victimized. For example, programs that provide transitional housing for women and their children leaving a violent environment are funded under the aegis of the program. 

“The Violence Against Women Act” has shown itself to be an effective piece of legislation. The Act’s programs have served as an umbrella providing a strong, safe shield for women and children across the United States. This Act was something that Congress did right. Any further delay to reauthorizing it does this House no credit, and that is why I joined my colleagues in asking for action from Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor,” said Dent.

Below is the text of the letter.

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor:

We are writing to urge you to immediately reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  As you know, we are long overdue in passing a reauthorization of this landmark piece of legislation which seeks to reduce instances of domestic violence and protect women who are victims of such violence.

Over the course of the past several years, we have met with constituents in our districts who agree that VAWA programs are an important part of a larger criminal justice framework that seeks to reduce abuse against women and kids.  We appreciate the need to make efficient and effective use of federal dollars, and believe that VAWA programs in our districts have met that threshold and have been a success in curbing domestic violence and supporting victims.  Now is the time to seek bipartisan compromise on the reauthorization of these programs.  VAWA programs save lives, and we must allow states and communities the opportunity to build upon the successes of current VAWA programs so that we can help even more people.

It is unfortunate that states are already preparing for Congress’s inaction.  In New Jersey, for example, the state legislature recently passed a bridge fund bill to fill the void left by a lack of federal funds in the event VAWA is not reauthorized. 

We believe a bipartisan plan to reauthorize VAWA is more important than ever.  Last year, in a bipartisan letter many of us in the Republican Conference wrote to the Judiciary Committee, we said: “VAWA must reach all victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in every community in the country.”  This statement still holds true, and underscores the need to reauthorize this critical legislation.  If you have any questions, or if we can be of additional assistance, your staff may contact Joe Heaton with Rep. Runyan at 225-4765.


Signatories of this letter were Congressmen Rodney Davis (IL), Charlie Dent (PA), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA), Jim Gerlach (PA), Chris Gibson (NY), Michael Grimm (NY), Richard Hanna (NY), David Joyce (OH), Leonard Lance (NJ), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Patrick Meehan (PA), Shelly Moore-Capito (WV), Tom Reed (NY), Dave Reichert (WA), Jon Runyan (NJ) and Lee Terry (NE).