The US House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with extended protections for Native American women, undocumented immigrants, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The controversial measure passed 286 - 138, and 87 Republicans joined Democrats to ensure passage of the bill.
The watered down version of the legislation proposed by the GOP caucus, that eliminated the expanded protections for minority groups that are often the targets of violence, was defeated 166 - 257.
MSNBC Reporter Jane C. Timm writes:
The previous VAWA, which created a National Domestic Violence Hotline and authorized federal funding for battered women’s shelters, expired in 2011. It was written by Vice President Joe Biden while he was in the Senate.
Under the current law, funding will continue for shelters and programs that prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault. New additions to the bill address stalking, spyware, and video surveillance. The bill specifically ensures that LGBT, Native American, and immigrant victims can access services and protections, including grants and legal aid.
The bill also gives greater jurisdiction to tribal courts to prosecute sexual offenders who aren’t Native Americans, but commit crimes against Native Americans or on the reservation. Rape on reservations is very high; 34% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetimes.I can’t for the life of me figure out why any legislator would place a “NO” vote against the reauthorization of VAWA. Any political opponent will be able to make hay of that vote.
The next time that the Republican party claims that there’s no “war against women,” all anyone has to do is point to this vote. It’s shameful.
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