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Cole Praises Tribal Provisions in Violence Against Women Act

May 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor in support of HR 4970, the Violence Against Women Act:

"I rise in support of HR 4970. The bill as reported out of the Judiciary Committee lacked provisions protecting tribal women. but Chairman Smith and his staff, along with Leader Cantor and Congresswoman Adams worked with me to ensure that the protections for tribal women were added and included in this bill.

"This bill does not change any existing authority that tribal courts possess but adds an
additional tool in federal court to combat violence against tribal women. The bill includes a mechanism for tribes to petition a federal court on the victim's behalf, which is important to victims of limited means living in remote locations. I support the tribal provisions
of the Senate-passed VAWA Act and the provisions found in the Save Native Women Act, HR 4154 of which I am a co-sponsor. I believe those provisions are indeed constitutional, but the protections found in this bill will have a positive effect in Indian Country.

"These provisions aren't perfect, but they improve current law considerably. I support the progress made in this bill. I urge my colleagues to support HR 4970. We cannot improve a bill and strengthen tribal sovereignty if we can't get a bill to conference."