House passes Violence Against Women Act, grudgingly

May 17, 2012

By , Christian Science Monitor

A day of dramatic, emotional debate in the House of Representatives gave way to a narrow but largely partisan vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act on Wednesday.

VAWA, passing 222-205 with 23 Republicans in opposition and six Democrats in favor, will now join another once-uncontroversial measure – the transportation bill – 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.  Historically a light political lift, VAWA breezed through Congress in its two prior reauthorizations.

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But just like the 2012 transportation bill, a bipartisan measure passed first in the Senate was initially blocked by House Republican leaders – and bitter partisan rancor followed.

Democrats said the GOP’s bill – which removed Senate-passed provisions relating to extending protections to Native Americans, lesbian, gay, and transgender Americans and illegal immigrants – showed a shocking lack of concern on the part of House Republicans.

“The 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,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) of New York at a press conference Wednesday. “Do they not bleed, and bruise, and are injured just as much as anyone else?”

Republicans accused Democrats of using the bill to back their claim that Republicans were waging a “war on women.”

“Can we stop the election-year gimmicks? Can we stop these manufactured wars that pit one group of Americans against another group of Americans?” thundered freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy(R) of South Carolina on the House floor Wednesday.

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1 Comment - what are your thoughts?

  • Rattlerjake says:

    Just another crap bill to add to the wasteful spending in Washington. Domestic violence victims are no more special than victims of other crimes, but now it’s just another excuse to spend tax dollars on women who make poor choices.

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