House Republicans have not been shy with their misogyny. In particular they seem most proud to grind their collective axes on the backs of immigrant women, voting not once, not twice, but three times to block renewal of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012.
Well, it’s a new legislative session and the very popular legislation has been re-introduced in the Senate by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), this time with a little tweak. Republican’s stated opposition to the bill in 2012 was over an increase in the number of visas for undocumented victims of domestic violence, as well as an extension of tribal authority over nontribe members who abuse American Indian partners and some added protections for gay and lesbian domestic-violence workers.
But, as Adam Sewer explains, House Republicans were able to shift focus on those unseemly reasons for opposing the bill and argue that the real problem is that it was procedurally flawed, that the bill raised revenue by virtue of the application fees for visas, and was therefore required by the Constitution to originate in the House, not the Senate.
Sens. Leahy and Crapo apparently decided to call John Boehner and Eric Cantor’s bluff because the new version of the bill resolves this procedural objection by striking the part of the bill that increases the number of special visas alloted for undocumented domestic violence victims. And while that’s not great news, since presumably this means fewer domestic violence victims will report their abuse as the threat of deportation is often used to pressure victims from reporting, women’s groups are supporting the bill.
One reason for the support despite the capitulation on visas is the hope the visa issue can be addressed in a potential immigration reform bill — though the likelihood that House Republicans would allow the provision to get attached to any legislation seems slim. Another reason is simply the fact that nobody believes House Republicans will support this bill either, but the only way to know for sure is to stand united behind by this latest version and wait for the Republicans to find some new excuse to block it.
Photo from martinak via flickr.