House Republicans approve watered-down VAWA
House Republicans today pushed through a weakened version of the Violence Against Women Act despite pleas from Democratic lawmakers and women rights advocates to preserve protections for underserved populations.
The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama would veto the House version.
Passed by a 235-186 vote, the House version – H.R. 4970 – stripped away legal protections for Native American women, immigrants, and LGBT individuals who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Democratic lawmakers had urged their Republican colleagues to approve the Senate version to step up efforts to help abuse victims in underserved communities.
Read more: Senate passes Violence Against Women Act
“We should not let politics pick and choose which victims of abuse to help and which to ignore,” according to a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) before today’s vote. “Each previous reauthorization substantially improved the way VAWA addressed the changing needs of domestic violence victims by addressing challenges facing older victims, victims with disabilities, and other underserved groups. The Senate’s bipartisan VAWA Reauthorization Act continues this tradition by placing greater emphasis on training for law enforcement and forensic response to sexual assault, and by strengthening protections for all victims regardless of where they live, or their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.”
The letter to Boehner was signed by all 12 women Democratic Senators and joined by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Women’s rights groups, including the National Organization for Women, condemned the House vote.
“The bill fundamentally undermines VAWA’s 18-year history of victim-centered legislation by shielding perpetrators from accountability for their violent crimes, raising new hurdles to women escaping violent relationships, removing important college campus and housing improvements, rolling back provisions for culturally specific services currently in VAWA and turning its back on immigrant women and Native American and LGBT communities,” said NOW President Terry O’Neill.
- Library of Congress: H.R. 4970 “The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012”
- Clerk.House.gov: Roll call vote #255 for H.R. 4970 the Violence Against Women Act on March 16, 2012
- WhatTheFolly.com: Democrats pressure Congress to pass VAWA
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: AG Eric Holder supports the Violence Against Women Act
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Sen. Patrick Leahy on why Congress should pass VAWA
- WhatTheFolly.com: GOP lawmakers oppose reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act
- WhatTheFolly.com: Senate passes Violence Against Women Act
- National Organization for Women: NOW Condemns House for Passage of H.R. 4970
- Boxer.Senate.gov: Boxer Joins Bipartisan Senate Women to Call on Speaker Boehner to Pass Senate Violence Against Women Act
List of Republican lawmakers* who voted to deny protections for Native American, immigrants, and LGBT victims of domestic violence and sexual assault:
(*All of the House members are up for re-election in November)
Bilbray, Brian P.
Bilirakis, Gus M.
Boustany Jr., Charles W.
Broun, Paul C.
Buerkle, Ann Marie
Capito, Shelley Moore
Conaway, K. Michael
Dent, Charles W.
Duffy, Sean P.
Duncan Jr., John J.
Emerson, Jo Ann
Fitzpatrick, Michael G.
Forbes, J. Randy
Gosar, Paul A.
Guthrie, S. Brett
Hall, Ralph M.
Herrera Beutler, Jaime
Hunter, Duncan D.
Johnson, Timothy V.
Jones, Walter B.
LaTourette, Steven C.
Latta, Robert E.
Lummis, Cynthia M.
Lungren, Daniel E.
McCaul, Michael T.
McHenry, Patrick T.
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy
Pitts, Joseph R.
Reichert, David G.
Rogers (AL), Mike
Rogers (MI), Mike
Roskam, Peter J.
Sensenbrenner, F. James
Thompson, Glenn W.
Westmoreland, Lynn A.
Wittman, Robert J.
Young, C.W. Bill
Category: Advocacy, Congress, Current Events, Government, News, Politics, Social Services, U.S., Women's Rights · Tags: abuse, Amy Klobuchar, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, bisexual, Claire McCaskill, Debbie Stabenow, Democratic, Democratic Party, Democrats, Dianne Feinstein, domestic violence, gay and lesbians, GOP, H.R. 4970, Jeanne Shaheen, John Boehner, Kay Hagan, Kirsten Gillibrand, lesbians, LGBT, Lisa Murkowski, Maria Cantwell, Mary Landrieu, Native American, NOW, Patty Murray, President Barack Obama, Republican, Republican Party, Republicans, sexual assault, sexual orientation, Terry O'Neill, transgender, undocumented immigrant, US Senate, US Senate Democrats, Violence Against Women Act, White House, women