Senate Version of VAWA Faces Battle in the House

The Senate’s reauthorization and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) faces long odds in the House, as the bill language expands federal powers far beyond domestic violence against women to include protections to homosexual men and transgenders; effectively making the title of the bill an election-year gimmick.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are wise to this political ploy, and are expressing reservations about advancing the language of the Senate bill, even though it is expected to pass the Senate with bipartisan support, according to CQ (subs. req’d.):

“In the House, the debate over renewing the law is just beginning. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he backs extending the law without additions, a position that would represent defeat for advocacy groups pressing for the expanded version for months.

“Terri Poore, vice president and policy chairwoman of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said the Senate bill’s expanded language was the result of years of research and discussions with professionals who work with domestic violence victims. ‘It would be a shame to lose all that work,’ she said, adding that there were signs some House Republicans might be open to the expanded version.

“Poore said House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and top Democrat John Conyers Jr. of Michigan have signaled that they want to work ‘in a bipartisan way.’

“But other advocates vowed to work just as hard to defeat the Senate language should it reach the House. ‘We certainly will be working behind the scenes to get rid of the things we don’t like when it comes before the House,’ said Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America, a group that opposes expanding a law that it views as already too broad.”

Catchy names should not be used in order to mask bad policy. House Republicans should fight to remove the changes to this law, as the added coverage will require more resources and more funding, and undermine some fundamental rights. At a time when spending must be cut, we cannot afford to waste money expanding a law of questionable effectiveness.

Related Links:
Key Vote Alert: “NO” on the Violence Against Women Act
Violence Against Women Act: Reauthorization Fundamentally Flawed
On the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization

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