Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) released the following statement after the passage of H.J.Res. 17, a resolution to facilitate the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021. For decades, the Violence Against Women Act has stood as a pillar of our essential mission to fight against domestic violence and sexual assault in Connecticut and across America. Both votes come as the country celebrates Women’s History Month.
“Today is a historic day for women. I joined my colleagues as part of a record number of women serving in the 117th Congress, leading the way to pass two pivotal bills to enshrine civil rights and safeguard women from violence,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “Among other things, the COVID-19 crisis has revealed just how fragile systemic protections for women are in this country. Women have borne the brunt of job losses and economic sacrifice. Too many Americans continue to suffer the pain and fear of abuse in their homes and communities, without many options to escape during the pandemic. More needs to be done to ensure women have the support and protections they need to seek justice, receive care and build their lives, free from violence or negative repercussions. These bills will have meaningful impacts on the lives of women in Connecticut’s Fifth District – and I will keep fighting until this legislation makes its way to the President’s desk.”
H.J.Res. 17 is a joint resolution to remove an arbitrary time limit previously set by Congress for the States to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). It would affirm women’s equality in the Constitution – enshrining the principle of women’s equality and an explicit prohibition against sex discrimination in the nation’s foundational document.
As the 28th Amendment, the ERA would:
- Give women a key tool in the legal arsenal to combat everyday discrimination women face, including pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual and domestic violence;
- Provide a single, national baseline protection against sex discrimination across the country; and
- Apply the most rigorous judicial review to laws and government policies that discriminate against women and it would ensure that laws or policies that are inconsistent with equality for women be struck down.
The VAWA reauthorization in H.R. 1620 builds upon the progress forged over the two-and-a-half decades since this legislation was first passed: since then, the rate of domestic violence in America has fallen by half. But more protections are needed, especially as 1 in 3 women still experience domestic violence, and as the coronavirus crisis has forced many women to quarantine in unsafe domestic situations.
This latest robust and bipartisan long-term reauthorization improves the current law, including by:
- Making vital new investments in violence prevention;
- Strengthening essential protections for the most vulnerable, including immigrant, LGBTQ and Native American women and specifically supporting communities of color in a culturally-sensitive way;
- Improving services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking;
- Making improvements in the criminal justice response to gender-based violence and improving the health care system’s response to domestic violence;
- Helping stop abusers and stalkers from obtaining firearms; and
- Expanding protections for victims’ and survivors’ financial security, including housing protections and anti-discrimination protections in the workplace.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.