By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star
---- — Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, is one of 17 congressional Republicans calling for the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which funds domestic violence prevention programs.
Gibson said in a letter to the House leadership, cosigned by the other 16 members, that putting the Violence Against Women Act back on the books was “long overdue.”
The Senate passed the measure this week with bipartisan support — 78 to 22. All 22 of the “nay” votes were cast by GOP senators.
Some of those who objected to the Senate measure said they were concerned by a provision that allows Native American tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians charged with assaulting Indian women on reservations.
In pressing House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to re-authorize the statute, the 17 GOP representatives noted some states are already poised for “congress’ inaction” and are scrambling to find money to fund the anti-violence programs that rely on federal assistance.
The programs funded by the act “save lies, and we must allow states and communities to build upon the successes of current VAWA programs so that we can help even more people,” they said.
The act expired in 2011, and advocates say the federal programs that relied on it are now in jeopardy. In 2012, the Democratic-led Senate and the GOP-controlled House passed separate bills reauthorizing the act. However, the two chambers failed to hash out a compromise.
Also on Wednesday, Gibson said he has joined a bipartisan effort to fight Lyme disease by creating a Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee.
“Particularly in upstate New York, where the incidence of Lyme is among the highest in the country, it is imperative that we improve the ways we detect and care for individuals suffering from tick borne illnesses,” Gibson said in a written statement.