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House Oks Violence Against Women Extension

December 17, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Congress on Saturday sent President Bush an extension of the Violence Against Women Act that would increase funding for the landmark act.

``This legislation will go far in providing protection for these women and their families,″ said Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif.

The House passed the bill on a voice vote Saturday, a day after the Senate approved it. ``Sometimes we do get something done around here and do get something done that’s good and something that everybody agrees on,″ said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The Violence Against Women Act, which is aimed at curtailing domestic violence through funding for women’s shelters and law-enforcement training, expired in September.

It originally passed Congress in 1994 and was renewed again in 2000. The latest renewal, also approved on a voice vote by the Senate, calls for extending the legislation for five years, at a cost of about $3.9 billion.

The extension includes new provisions focused on health care, early intervention and outreach to American Indian women, among other areas.

The $3.9 billion figure represents a 20 percent increase over the last five-year extension, although actual funding levels will be left to yearly appropriations legislation.

``This is a giant step forward, and offers real hope that our nation will significantly improve its response to domestic, sexual and dating violence and stalking,″ said Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

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The bill number is H.R. 3402.

For bill text: http://thomas.loc.gov

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