Republicans will get another opportunity to prove just how anti-woman their party has become this week as Senate Democratic lawmakers plan to bring the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) renewal up for debate and vote before Friday when lawmakers adjourn for a week-long recess.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has filed a cloture petition on the legislation so Democrats can take it up immediately after finishing postal reform legislation.
For the first time in the history of the landmark legislation VAWA faces opposition from a Republican party that takes exception to protecting immigrant women and the LGBT community from domestic violence.
Republicans are scrambling to come up with some alternative legislation that allows them to suggest they don’t truly oppose domestic violence protections but so far haven’t been able to actually draft a bill. Absent an alternative Republicans will either have to filibuster the bill or break ranks and actually support it.
Every Republican in the Judiciary Committee voted against he bill in February.
“It’s my real hope that we’ll be able to get this bill and get through some intransigence on the other side and get it reauthorized,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Friday. Coons’s predecessor, Vice President Joe Biden, is the author of the law.
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the highest-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) held a press conference last week to highlight Republican opposition to the legislation. “It really is a shame, I think, that we’ve gotten to this point that we’ve gotten to this point that we even have to stand here today to urge our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to support legislation that has consistently received broad bipartisan support,” Murray said, noting that former President George W. Bush signed the reauthorization in 2006.
If Republicans successfully kill the legislation it will give Democratic lawmakers plenty to talk about with constituents at home. They can add it to the list of the anti-contraception, anti-pay equity and now anti-domestic violence platform of the modern day GOP.
Photo from andrewrennie via flickr.