ByÂ David Grant, Christian Science Monitor
VAWA, passing 222-205 with 23 Republicans in opposition and six Democrats in favor, will now join another once-uncontroversial measure â€“ the transportation bill â€“ in a conference committee between the two chambers.
The act provides some $660 million in funding over five years for programs ranging from protecting victims of domestic violence and community violence prevention to legal aid for survivors of violence.Â Historically a light political lift, VAWA breezed through Congress in its two prior reauthorizations.
But just like the 2012 transportation bill, a bipartisan measure passed first in the Senate was initially blocked byÂ House RepublicanÂ leaders â€“ and bitter partisan rancor followed.
Democrats said the GOPâ€™s bill â€“ which removed Senate-passed provisions relating to extending protections to Native Americans, lesbian, gay, and transgender Americans and illegal immigrants â€“ showed a shocking lack of concern on the part of House Republicans.
â€œThe indifference in this bill toward some, just some, is as chilling and callous as anything I have seen come before this Congress in modern times,â€ saidÂ Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D)Â ofÂ New YorkÂ at a press conference Wednesday. â€œDo they not bleed, and bruise, and are injured just as much as anyone else?â€
Republicans accused Democrats of using the bill to back their claim that Republicans were waging a â€œwar on women.â€
â€œCan we stop the election-year gimmicks? Can we stop these manufactured wars that pit one group of Americans against another group of Americans?â€ thundered freshmanÂ Rep. Trey Gowdy(R) ofÂ South CarolinaÂ on the House floor Wednesday.
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