Slate (Feb. 28) reports:
“Five hundred days since letting the Violence Against Women Act expire, House Republicans finally caved today and voted to reauthorize the bill, which was first passed in 1994 to help victims of rape and domestic violence find safety, care and justice. VAWA passed the House today with a vote of 286-138 (with the 138 against being all Republican), and President Obama is expected to sign it once it gets to his desk. Republicans aren’t too happy about this turn of events, but their ongoing resistance to this popular legislation was starting to make them look like monsters, so they didn't have much of a choice.”
“Since VAWA expired, House Republicans have been resisting the version of the bill that passed the Senate with a vote of 78-22. They objected mainly to expanded protections for LGBT victims, immigrants, and Native Americans.”
And guess what. All 22 of those no votes in the Senate were from Republican men. Every female Senator supported the bill. Among those voting against the bill were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Before voting on the Senate bill today, House Republicans offered a substitute amendment that didn't have those expanded protections. It failed by a vote of 166-257.
According to Thinkprogress, 27 House Republicans, including Rep. James Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri of Wisconsin, voted against both the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act and the House’s watered down version.
Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, issued this statement:
“Today’s historic expansion of the Violence Against Women Act shows what Americans can do when we stand up to extremism and say ‘enough is enough.’ For 18 years, VAWA has saved lives, dramatically reducing intimate partner violence, helping women to escape abusive relationships and ensuring that domestic violence is treated like the crime it is. Now, the law will be even stronger, protecting at-risk groups who have too often slipped through the cracks of domestic violence prevention efforts.
“When extremists in the House GOP tried to bring down the Violence Against Women Act, Americans stopped them in their tracks. I hope this vote shows that the House Republican leadership is rethinking its embrace of dangerous extremism and destructive gridlock.”
And in his Washington Post Op-ed posted this afternoon, Greg Sargent asserts VAWA victory shows that House GOP needs Democrats. Click here to read it.