The Senate passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 78-22.
The move puts the ball in the court of the GOP-controlled House, whose leaders have resisted provisions that protect gays, undocumented immigrants and Native American women.
But that stance has given Democrats further ammunition to charge that the GOP is waging a "war on women," and it may be difficult to sustain. This week, 17 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, urging them to approve the measure.
“Now is the time to seek bipartisan compromise on the reauthorization of these programs," the group wrote. "We believe a bipartisan plan to reauthorize VAWA is more important than ever."
President Obama did his part to up the pressure on Boehner and Cantor. "It's now time for the House to ... send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law," Obama said in a statement.