Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Wednesday led all 47 Democratic senators in introducing the Senate companion to the House-passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

“The bill, which would reauthorize VAWA through 2024, preserves advancements made in previous reauthorizations and includes a number of additional improvements to the current law,” according to a press release from Feinstein’s office.

The senator said, “Make no mistake, there’s a dire need for this legislation. A quarter of American women will be the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes. More than a third of all women will be raped, assaulted or stalked. And the numbers are worse for Native American women, of whom some 84 percent will experience violence. Making VAWA stronger will help us lower those tragic numbers.”

VAWA was passed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000, 2005 and 2013. The House voted in April to reauthorize the act.

A screen shot from Sen. Hirono’s Twitter feed on Nov. 13. Screenshot/2019

In a press release indicating his support for the new bill, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii said that Hawaii programs received more than $2 million from VAWA this year.

“For 25 years, VAWA has provided support, shelter, and a new chance at life for women and children in Hawaii and across the country,” he said.

Sen. Mazie Hirono spoke in favor of VAWA’s renewal at a press conference in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

“It’s crystal clear the reason that #VAWA hasn’t been brought to the Senate floor is because of Mitch McConnell’s need to please the NRA,” Hirono said in a Tweet.

The press release from Feinstein’s office notes that VAWA helps prevent “intimate partner” homicides by including provisions expanding firearms laws “to prohibit persons convicted of dating violence from possessing firearms, prohibiting persons convicted of misdemeanor stalking from possessing firearms and prohibiting individuals subject to ex parte protective orders from possessing firearms.”

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