Violence Against Women Act is Set to Expire

The landmark federal law needs to be reauthorized by Sept. 30. It is expected to be extended through Dec. 7 under a stopgap spending measure.

The Violence Against Women Act, a landmark federal law enacted 24 years ago to govern investigations and prosecutions of violent crimes against women, is set to expire at the end of this month and Congress has little time to rush to its rescue, reports the Los Angeles Times. The House plans to be in session only four days more before the law expires Sept. 30. Lawmakers still must pass a complex series of funding measures to avert a government shutdown when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Republican leaders are aware of the political risks of letting the popular act lapse weeks before the midterm elections.

AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), said negotiations are underway between the House and Senate, and she was optimistic they would reach a resolution. The law “will not lapse,” Strong said. The law will be extended through Dec. 7 under a proposed stopgap spending law proposed on Thursday. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) filed legislation Thursday that would extend the measure for six months and give Congress more time to negotiate changes to it. Another measure to reauthorize the 1994 act was introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) in July, just before the House left for the August recess, and it hasn’t gone through the normal committee process. The bill’s 154 co-sponsors are all Democrats, indicating that it is unlikely to be legislation that the Republican-controlled House would take up.