Domestic Violence: Violence Against Women Act Passes House

Will women finally be safe. Will legislation help give police better powers to help victims.

VAWA Passes HouseVAWA Passes House

Eighty-seven Republicans joined all 199 Democrats in passing the “Violence Against Women Act today.

The Senate version was passed 90 minutes after a vote was taken on a Republican House re-write.  A group of the GOP attempted to remove provisions that would protect the LGBT community, Native Americans, and Immigrants.  The revised measure lost by a vote of 166 to 257.  The Senate version total was 286-138.

The measure now goes to President Barack Obama, who said in a statement that it was “an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear.”

“I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” Obama said.

Originally the bill penned by Joe Biden passed in 1994 and was reauthorized since.  The act provides support for organizations that serve domestic violence victims. Criminal prosecutions of abusers are generally the responsibility of local authorities, but the act stiffened sentences for stalking under federal law.

Supporters credit the act with sharply reducing the number of lives lost to domestic violence over the past two decades

Just last year Congress failed to renew the act because of the new provisions.  Republicans witnessed the numbers favoring President Obama in the November election, and wisely voted on an issue important to women and Latinos.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi pointed out that hundreds of advocacy groups supported the Senate version.

“This is a remarkable day because we have clarity between the two proposals,” she said, noting one had support from both parties in the Senate and the president while the other was opposed by “almost everybody who has anything to do with the issue of violence against women.”

Witnessing increasing divisiveness within the Republican party, and reactionaries in combat with “more moderate” members of the House, the revision by Republicans had little chance of being adopted.

87 Republicans wisely recognized the increasing power of women and minorities.  Yes, they do count.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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