Sen. Chuck Grassley on VAWA

Feb. 24, 2012

Dear Editor:

“Republicans Retreat on Domestic Violence” (editorial, Feb. 10) doesn’t recognize the reasons for the lack of support for the Judiciary Committee bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The bill fails to recognize the dire fiscal situation, fails to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and adds unjustifiable controversial provisions.

My alternative bill provides more assistance for victims than the bill reported by the Judiciary Committee. The inspector general’s random audits of the act’s grant recipients repeatedly found irregularities and misconduct, including unauthorized and unallowable expenses in 21 of 22 grants. It’s only logical to change the committee’s bill to ensure that those funds go to help victims.

Also, the committee’s bill fails to address testimony at a hearing demonstrating that some immigrants applying for visas falsely claim to be victims of domestic violence.

I object to the editorial’s claim that my bill would eliminate the Office on Violence Against Women. Given the poor record of that office in administering these programs efficiently, my bill retains a separate Office on Violence Against Women within an existing Justice Department agency that administers grants. This means that less money is spent on bureaucrats, leaving more funds for victims.

Democrats have insisted on inserting controversial items into the act for which there is no proven need. In doing so, they have prevented Congress from strengthening it as a consensus bill and turned a routine reauthorization into an unnecessary dispute.

Washington, Feb. 10, 2012