THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT
Today I join the President in calling on the Congress to enact strong hate crimes legislation. In June, I was present in the Senate when it approved Senator Kennedy's bill. I said then, and repeat today, that passage of hate crimes legislation is a victory for the American people -- because Americans stand for decency, for tolerance, and for goodness. Hate crimes are targeted at America's heart and aim to destroy our values and purpose.
It has often been said that our laws reflect the values we share as a society. Passage of a strong hate crimes law will send a clear message that we value everyone in our society, and we will work together to oppose those who use hate to divide us.
I support the President's directive to the Department of Justice to join with local and state law enforcement officials in developing a plan to improve the reporting of hate crimes. As the study released today demonstrates, many hate crimes are not reported to police or to the FBI. We need to do more to bring the problem of hate crimes and the plight of victims into sharper focus so that we can direct more attention to prevention and to apprehending those who perpetrate this kind of violence.
I also join the President today in urging Congress to work together to ensure that the vital Violence Against Women Act is reauthorized this year. This law has made a tremendous difference in the lives of countless women. I hope that a bipartisan majority in Congress will do the right thing, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and make a real contribution to the fight against domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault.