House Planning to Move on VAWA

Before the Senate passed its version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we and other conservative organizations wrote about its flaws, and more importantly, its glaring ineffectiveness.

No matter.  Washington politics prevailed over fact.

The Senate passed the radically expanded VAWA with 78 votes because politicians are, well, politicians.  They know that there is a sufficient amount of political clout to be gained by putting up the I’m-Great-Because-I-Help-Women façade.

Even though this bill is just that – a façade.

The House is up next and is poised to unveil its version of VAWA next week.  And, unfortunately, lawmakers in the lower chamber will be confronted with the same choice: act like we’re helping women by passing VAWA or do the right thing by opposing it. 

According to Roll Call, one senior GOP leadership aide said:

The legislation that you’ll see we believe will be stronger than what the Senate passed.  We’re trying to determine what best we can do to make sure the language that passes meets our top two priorities: protecting women and prosecuting offenders.

We all want to protect women and prosecute offenders, but there is little evidence VAWA accomplishes the stated goals of “protecting women and prosecuting offenders.”  Many of the new provisions added by the Senate were dubbed as “strengthening” the law, but with or without those provisions, the legislation still has not been proven to protect women.

No matter how awesome and righteous lawmakers think the language of the bill is, the bottom line is that VAWA funds are oriented toward advancing feminist goals of power redistribution, based on the dubious assumption that American women are of a “weaker social, political, and financial status.”  Moreover, the legislation creates duplicative programs, hence wasting valuable resources.

That doesn’t help battered women.

To be clear, there has not been one scientifically rigorous study saying that VAWA has.

Moreover, it is the Constitutional duty of the states to prosecute and punish all perpetrators of crimes committed against other citizens.  This includes, of course, the crime of domestic violence.  Indeed, the “battle against domestic violence should be waged, and paid for, primarily at the state and local levels.”  And that is, in fact, what they are doing.

The prospects of House members acting in a sensible manner are not great, since the political pressure to advance useless but powerful sounding legislation is so great:

House Democrats, however, are unlikely to support anything that deviates from the Senate-passed legislation, and Boehner could find himself boxed in, as he did on fiscal cliff and disaster spending votes at the end of last year.

Republicans, though, are aware of the scrutiny they have received from the left that their refusal to take up the Senate bill is “anti-woman.”

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said:

We’re fully committed to doing anything we can to protect women in or society, and I expect that the House will act in a timely fashion in some way.

That’s a worthy goal that we all share, which is why we oppose VAWA.  It’s just not the job of the federal government, which, evinced VAWA’s ineffectiveness since 1994, has proven inadequate for the task.

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