Congress to see record breaking number of women in office come January,” said the senator. The vote on the Violence Against Women Act took place during the course of a congressional hearing on sex trafficking on this day. The bill passed, with a unanimous 91-0 vote. “A women’s vote matters in a country as deeply divided as ours,” said the senator. “By taking this vote now, we will be passing an important piece of legislation that will help our communities and will help the victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence in our country.” The bill was introduced and sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who also introduced the companion legislation for the Equal Rights Amendment. The Senate voted to pass the Violence Against Women Act just before the break. However, the House of Representatives did not take up the bill.
The Violence Against Women Act has been in Congress since 1989. In 2016 alone, it passed the Senate by a vote of 99-0 and was passed in the House by a vote of 288-140. It was signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama. Its goal is to help combat the gender-based violence that is so pervasive, and the cost the lives of thousands of women and men each year.
The bill was passed earlier this year by the House with an emotional moment when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and then-Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) hugged and made love on the floor of the House chamber. That was on February 21.
“This is a big deal.”
“It’s a big deal,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said when the bill passed. “It’s been a long time in Congress.” When the House passed the bill, many members of Congress gave speeches, including Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), who told the House, “This is a big deal. This is a great day. This is an important day.”