McConnell Praises Reauthorization of Adam Walsh Act
Protecting children and bringing justice to victims has been a top priority of mine for many years.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Senate passed the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act today. The legislation will bolster efforts to prevent future sexual assault crimes and help victims receive justice. It was sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and passed by a vote of 89-0.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that the authorization for this important legislation expired in 2011, but was revived under a new chairman, Sen. Grassley.
“It was disheartening to watch reauthorization legislation languish in the Senate and in the Judiciary Committee for years. But then, Chairman Grassley came along,” McConnell said. “Not only did he work to reauthorize this bill, he worked to make it stronger — with additional rights and protections for victims of sexual assault and human trafficking crimes. Like he's done with other priorities, Chairman Grassley realized the urgency of moving this reauthorization forward and then worked diligently to advance it. It’s just another example of his efforts to put the Judiciary Committee to work for the American people.”
Sen. McConnell’s speech today on the legislation follows:
“The Republican-led Senate believes in the importance of combatting sexual assault and providing key protections for the victims of these heinous crimes. In less than 18 months, we’ve already passed many different measures to help victims and help stop these crimes.
- We passed the Amy and Vicky Act, which will help the victims of child pornography get restitution from those who profit from their pain — and, because we know the pain doesn’t end when these images are produced, it can help victims find the closure they need and deserve too.
- We passed an important measure championed by Senator Toomey, who worked with Senator Alexander to include in the K-12 education reform bill a requirement that states put laws and policies in place to help ensure schools are no longer able to ship child predators to other school districts.
- We passed a measure from Senator Portman, who worked with Senator McCaskill to hold an infamous child sex-trafficking company in contempt and force it to turn over critical information — information that’s needed for their bipartisan human trafficking investigation to continue.
- And of course, we passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. The victims of modern slavery deserve justice and they deserve a voice, which is why — after years of previous inaction — a new Republican-led Senate made it a priority to pass this important anti-slavery bill. Now it’s law.
“This week we’ll have two more opportunities to protect victims.
“The first, contained in a provision within the National Defense Authorization Act, is the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act. This effort would address human trafficking beyond our borders with tools to help end the scourge of modern slavery worldwide. I thank Senator Corker for his work on this measure.
“The second, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act, will bolster efforts to prevent future sexual assault crimes and help victims receive justice. We’ll pass it today.
“One group dedicated to combatting trafficking noted its strong support for this, quote, ‘vital’ legislation which it calls ‘essential to the fight against child sex trafficking.’ The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act has also received the support of the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN, along with organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“I’ve been involved with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children since its inception and have had the privilege of working closely with the organization over the years.
“Protecting children and bringing justice to victims has been a top priority of mine for many years. I’ve long worked with John Walsh, Adam’s father, to advance efforts to do so. I supported the original Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in 2006 in order to enhance law enforcements' ability to track sex offenders and improve its information-sharing capabilities, and to support resources to aid in the apprehension of fugitives who commit these offenses. It’s an important law, but the authorization for it expired in 2011. It was disheartening to watch reauthorization legislation languish in the Senate and in the Judiciary Committee for years.
“But then, Chairman Grassley came along. Not only did he work to reauthorize this bill, he worked to make it stronger — with additional rights and protections for victims of sexual assault and human trafficking crimes.
“Like he's done with other priorities, Chairman Grassley realized the urgency of moving this reauthorization forward and then worked diligently to advance it. It’s just another example of his efforts to put the Judiciary Committee to work for the American people.
“Under a new Chairman, the Judiciary Committee has reported out some 30 bills and has seen more than a dozen signed into law. Time and again, the committee has taken on important issues and worked towards real solutions for our country.
“We saw a great example of that recently with Chairman Grassley’s efforts to help combat the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic that’s hurting so many communities across our country. States like mine have been especially impacted by this drug crisis. I appreciated the steadfast commitment of colleagues like Chairman Grassley, along with key Senators like Senator Portman and Senator Ayotte, to address the issue and ensure Senate passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
“Chairman Grassley has worked hard to pass other pieces of legislation too — like a law to protect American innovation in the 21st Century, for instance, and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act I mentioned earlier.
“Without Chairman Grassley’s commitment in committee and Senator Cornyn’s relentless efforts on the floor, that important trafficking bill wouldn’t have become law.
So it’s clear that Senator Grassley has led the Judiciary Committee with a renewed focus on providing hope and providing a voice to those in need.
“We have just the latest example of his commitment in the bill before us today. So I commend Chairman Grassley for his strong leadership, and I urge my colleagues to join me today in supporting this important legislation.”