Will House Republicans Kill VAWA Again?

Despite the best efforts of a handful of ultra-conservative Senate Republicans, including both Sens. Marco Rubio (FL) and Rand Paul (KY), who are presumptive competitors for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, the Senate advanced a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on Tuesday by a vote of 78 to 22. This is a great first step, and Care2 members helped make that happen by signing our petition. Of course, every vote against renewal came from Republican men.

Democrats were able to defeat major changes to the bill proposed by amendment by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and John Cornyn (R-TX). Grassley’s amendment tried to strip VAWA of all protections for Native Americans, LGBT and undocumented abuse victims while Cornyn’s amendment tried to roll back extending jurisdiction over non-tribe members to tribal courts. In the end, and after Republican grandstanding over the necessity to protect the rights of abusers, there was strong bipartisan support for renewal, illustrating the widely popular nature of the law and the extreme nature of objections to it.

The bill passed by the Senate also includes the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which will give service providers and law enforcement agencies additional tools and resources to combat human trafficking. Conservative estimates suggest that as many as 27 million people around the world, many of whom are women and girls, are forced into commercial sexual exploitation and trafficked each year.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives where, sadly, it faces a real struggle for passage. Republicans in the House are not only more reactionary than conservatives in the Senate, but more willing to bear their misogyny openly. That hasn’t stopped the pressure campaign for House passage from starting in earnest.

“I applaud the Senate for passing the Violence Against Women Act,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “When the EMILY’s List community helped elect nine pro-choice Democratic women to the Senate last November, this was the kind of progress they had in mind. I am encouraged that this long overdue piece of legislation is one step closer to becoming law, and I hope that the House of Representatives quickly follows suit. The only things standing in the way are House Republicans and their scorched-earth anti-woman tactics, which prevented VAWA from passing last year. But women across the country have made it clear that they are watching how their Representative votes on this issue, and they won’t stand by and let Republican extremists block access to vital services for victims of violence.”

We know House Republicans won’t show any leadership on this issue because they seem to be completely unable to govern in any meaningful fashion. So that leaves the question of what happens next? Will House Republicans really stand in the way of putting abusers and rapists in jail and helping victims protect themselves and move on from past traumas? If past votes are any indication, the answer is, sadly, yes.

Take Action: Tell the House to pass VAWA!


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Photo from gageskidmore via flickr.


Frank C.
Frank C3 years ago

Are we clear that this law will FEDERALIZE domestic violence? Apart from the HUGE unconstitutional power grab, it also criminalizes speech, and is very vague in many areas. This opens the door for all kinds of prosecutorial abuses, forcing many to accept plea deals and convictions for FEDERAL crimes. Is that what we want? Federalizing domestic disputes? And to think that so many people on a site like this, who pretend to be ''liberals'', are supporting this fascist piece of legislation. It's very sad. Enjoy the tyranny that you're craving!

Brian F.
Brian F3 years ago

Frank C. Once again you demonstrate your complete ignorance. Current laws are not adequate to protect women from rape, or domestic violence. Women are still treated as the guilty party that brought it on herself in rape cases. One in three women will be raped, beaten or abused in her lifetime, and we need stronger laws than our blame the victim set of old laws that fail to address rape, and violence against women. In addition, we need stronger laws to protect our LGBT, gay and lesbian population from rape and violence. But, because your republican, and have limited intelligence, you can't see that.

Jane H.
Jane H3 years ago

We are already raising money here in KY to deafeat McConnell and surely we will attempt the same when R. Paul's turn comes around. They are both a shame for us.

Jude Hand
Judith Hand3 years ago

Love those successes! Come on, House!

Frank C.
Frank C3 years ago

LYNNE B: Can you even cogently articulate the ''GOP attitude'' toward the legislation, and why it is ''an insult to every woman.'' It's one thing to make that claim, but it's another to support it. I've noticed that the posts in this forum are long on venting, and very short on substance. I don't want women to be victims of violence anymore than men, or children. I am a compassionate person, and in addition, if our society breaks down and it's more vulnerable members are victims of violence, then we're all at risk. I simply need to understand why harsh criminal laws that have existed for thousands of years suddenly aren't sufficient to protect women from violence. What would VAWA add to that? Are you saying that an out of control rapist who isn't detered by laws against rape that will send him to prison for 25 years, will somehow be detered by VAWA? Or does VAWA add a provision that his penis would be cut off? Please elaborate...
VICKY P: How do current laws ''screw people over''?

Frank C.
Frank C3 years ago

BEN: I'm an informed freedom-loving American and I've yet to read a cogent, compelling argument as to WHY things should change. Want to take a stab at it? And please don't simply say that there's too much violence against women and that passing this law will reduce it. Because saying that would PROVE that you're ignorant, and you're not ignorant, right Ben? So instead, please explain why the current laws on the books are inadequate, and WHY specific provisions of the new law would meet the as yet unmet need. If you can manage to make a compelling argument Ben, I'm all in!

Ben Oscarsito
Ben Oscarsito3 years ago

Those ignorant ultra-conservative republicans don't want anything to change, do they?

Lord Wolfen
Lord Wolfen3 years ago

I am a Liberty Loving American so I believe in equal protection and actual equal rights for every citizen.
This seems to put me at odds with the hatemongers that currently write for this site.

Frank C.
Frank C3 years ago

JANICE: I haven't seen anyone contesting that fact, except that there is A LOT of violent crime that is actually gang violence, which doesn't include women. But if that type of crime is adequetely addressed by existing laws, such as assault, gun violence, attempted murder, etc, etc, then why aren't those laws sufficient for women? What is it about women that deserves even GREATER protection? I have yet to read one serious, thoughtful comment on here which answers that question. I have seen rude, derogatory, and reproachful comments which appear to imply that it should just be obvious to me, and that if it isn't then I must be a wacko right wing extremist simply for asking. How tolerant of those people. I haven't insulted anyone here. Apparently, I've simply pointed out that the emperor has no clothes, and some people just want to shoot the messenger! (pardon the mixed metaphors).

janice b.
jan b3 years ago

Most all domestic violence are upon women and children than on men who are the ones committing them...and I'm surprised that anyone would contest that fact.