Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was among those condemning the government shutdown's impacts on the safety of women and families, as funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired at midnight on Friday as the shutdown went into effect.
Along with nearly 400,000 federal employees who face a furlough thanks to President Donald Trump's decision to shut down the federal government, programs that support women who have survived violence may now face funding shortages due to the turmoil on Capitol Hill. Congress's failure to negotiate a spending bill over the weekend left programs that rely on the law without federal funding until at least Thursday, when lawmakers reconvene.
"Because of the Trump Shutdown, millions of survivors who rely on programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act will not have the resources they need to stay safe right before the holidays," Lee tweeted over the weekend as it became clear that the government would not reopen Monday. "Shame on this President."
Because of the #TrumpShutdown, millions of survivors who rely on programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act will not have the resources they need to stay safe right before the holidays. Shame on this President. https://t.co/Oi1xvt5JYF
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) December 23, 2018
The unnecessary government shutdown is cutting off funding for critical programs that help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence & stalking.
— YWCA USA (@YWCAUSA) December 23, 2018
— Women's March (@womensmarch) December 22, 2018
Due to the lapse in funding for the landmark legislation which was passed in 1994, funding requests for a wide array of programs supporting women will be delayed. VAWA helps to fund rape education and prevention programs, strengthens public housing protections for survivors of domestic abuse, enables native tribes to prosecute non-native offenders who abuse and assault women, and provides funding for numerous other programs.
A number of lawmakers expressed anger over the funding lapse brought on by the president's refusal to sign the spending bill that was passed by the Senate late last week, as it did not include $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border aimed at keeping asylum seekers out of the country. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who refused to budge on her opposition to the wall funding, called the expiration in VAWA funding "nothing short of an abdication of our responsibilities to women in our country."
At midnight, the @GOP-led #TrumpShutdown allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire. That means survivors of sexual violence and indigenous women will be without the vital services and protections they need, and robbed of their peace of mind and safety. https://t.co/b3tgT3lddm
— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) December 22, 2018
In a year when so many brave voices have come forward, we need to reauthorize #VAWA immediately to protect needed resources to survivors of domestic violence & sexual assault.
— Rep. Brad Schneider (@RepSchneider) December 22, 2018
The government has shut down for a third time under the watch of a Republican-controlled White House & Congress. To make matters worse, authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) lapsed as a result of the Trump Administration's reckless shutdown.
— Rep. Jacky Rosen (@RepJackyRosen) December 23, 2018
The Trump administration's xenophobic anti-immigrant agenda has previously affected domestic violence victims when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in June that survivors of abuse would no longer be granted asylum. A federal court last week struck down that rule, calling the administration's move "arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the immigration laws." On social media, some wrote that the president's lack of concern for VAWA funding was hardly surprising considering his own admitted history of abuse toward women.
B/c of the #TrumpChristmasShutdown, the Violence Against Women Act expired.
— Litsa Dremousis (@LitsaDremousis) December 22, 2018
What kind of country allows its Violence Against Women Act to expire?
“I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”#VAWA
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) December 24, 2018