The Violence Against Women Act’s uncertain fate

Updated
 
Sen. Patty Murray is the Democratic point person on the Violence Against Women Act.
Sen. Patty Murray is the Democratic point person on the Violence Against Women Act.
Associated Press

Back in April, the Senate approved the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act fairly easily, with a 68 to 31 vote. Though all 31 opponents were Republican men, the measure enjoyed at least some bipartisan support, and hopes were high that VAWA would be extended before it expires at the end of the year.

Sahil Kapur reports that there’s far less reason for optimism now.

House GOP leaders aren’t yielding to a bipartisan coalition of Senate leaders demanding they extend the protections of the Violence Against Women Act – an anti-domestic abuse bill that was first passed with broad support in 1994 but hit a brick wall of Republican opposition earlier this year.

“Nothing has changed,” a senior GOP aide told TPM.

Republicans lost badly in the 2012 elections, thanks in large part to the largest gender gap in modern times, but if that changed GOP attitudes towards legislation affecting women, the party is hiding it well.

Remember, the House could pass the bipartisan Senate bill, co-written by a liberal Democrat (Vermont’s Pat Leahy) and a conservative Republican (Idaho’s Mike Crapo), but the House GOP is convinced the bill is too nice to the LGBT community, immigrants, and Native Americans, so Republican leaders won’t even bring it to the floor.

But the weak, watered-down House version can’t pass the Senate, and it’s already sparked a veto threat from President Obama.

This was supposed to be one of the year’s easier bills, but as things stand, VAWA may die next month. Without an extension, consequences would include far fewer resources for state and local governments to combat domestic violence.

“Domestic violence protections for all women shouldn’t be a Democratic or a Republican issue,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement. “A six month delay is inexcusable. One day is inexcusable. As we enter the final days of this Congress, it is time for House Republicans to look beyond ideology and partisan politics. Their obstruction is taking a toll on women across this country.”

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The Violence Against Women Act's uncertain fate

Updated