Thursday, April 26, 2012

Senate passes expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Democrat, Minn.) championed VAWA.

Democrats and Republicans continue their struggle to win the women’s vote. On the surface at least, this is a good thing. It suggests awareness at long last by our two major political parties that women represent 51 percent of the body politic.

And it is unquestionably good news that the senate just passed an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act, so movingly supported by Wisc. Rep. Gwen Moore a few weeks ago on the House floor (watch the video).

David Grant at the Christian Science Monitor reports:

A new version of the Violence Against Women Act, the legislation that Democratsused as a backdrop to accuse Republicans of waging a "war on women," passed the Senate Thursday afternoon 68 to 31.

Fifteen Republicans joined every Democrat in voting for the measure. The passage reauthorizes a wide variety of services for abused women and men for five years.

"This violence must end," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) of Minnesota, one of the bill's main champions, on the Senate floor Thursday. "And so we all know that we can no longer stand and say it is someone else's problem. We can't let our own differences, minor that they may be on various provisions, get in the way."

Grant’s report continues:

Senate Democrats added provisions to VAWA that would help gays and lesbians receive domestic-abuse protections, make more temporary visas available for battered women in the United States illegally, and offer native American women more protection.
"A victim is a victim is a victim," thundered Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont, one of the bill's lead sponsors, on the Senate floor Thursday. "You don't say we can help you if you fit in this category, but sorry battered woman, you're on your own, because you're in the wrong category. That's not America."

A Republican majority in the House, however, threatens final passage of the Senate’s version of the bill:

In the lower chamber, Republicans led by Reps. Sandy Adams of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota offered the outline of their VAWA bill Wednesday. While still being drafted, the bill will all but certainly not contain the Senate's trio of controversial provisions.

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