Angelina Jolie held back tears while speaking at a press conference and urging lawmakers to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Calling it ‘one of the most important votes you will cast in the Senate this year,’ the Oscar-winning actor highlighted the role the act plays in protecting women and children from domestic and sexual violence.
Originally passed in 1994, the VAWA was a landmark piece of legislation intended to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and harassment. It has since been reauthorized with new additions several times over the years but lapsed in 2019 without subsequent renewal. Since then, lawmakers have aimed to renew the VAWA and expand it to include further resources for communities of color and residents of tribal lands.
On Wednesday, CNN reported that Democrats and Republicans have reached a deal on renewing the VAWA, but with one of Democrats’ key proposed provisions—the so-called ‘boyfriend loophole’—not included. This provision would have expanded the grounds for restricting firearm sales to unmarried partners convicted of domestic violence, stalking, or similar offenses. Efforts to close the ‘boyfriend loophole’ received staunch opposition from conservative Republicans and groups like the NRA.
On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin indicated to reporters that a bipartisan vote to reauthorize the VAWA could come before the end of the month. ‘I have full confidence that this is going to pass in the Senate,’ added Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence herself.
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