Violence Against Women Act passes – in spite of Republicans

The House on Thursday gave final approval to a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, sending a bipartisan Senate measure to President Obama after a House plan endorsed by conservatives was defeated…It amounted to a significant victory for the president and Congressional Democrats, who have assailed Republicans for months for stalling the legislation.

The successful measure passed the Senate last month with 78 votes — including those of every woman, all Democrats and just over half of Republicans.

The alternative unveiled by the House last Friday immediately came under sharp criticism from Democrats and women’s and human rights groups for failing to include protections in the Senate bill for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse. The House bill also eliminated “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from a list of “populations” that face barriers to receiving victim services — and stripped certain provisions regarding American Indian women on reservations.

With House Republicans divided, the leadership agreed that it would allow a vote on the Senate bill if the House version could not attract sufficient votes, and it failed on a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans joined 197 Democrats in opposition; 164 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it.

The newly passed legislation creates and expands federal programs to assist local communities with law enforcement and aiding victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Most notably, the bill goes further by offering protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse, as well as allowing American Indian women who are assaulted on reservations by non-Indians to take their case to tribal courts, which otherwise would not have jurisdiction over assailants who do not live on tribal land…

The legislation’s approval underscored the divide in the Republican party as it struggles to regain its footing with women after its 2012 electoral drubbing among female voters. House Republicans — even split at the leadership level — ultimately bowed to what they saw as the best interests of their party nationally, even if that meant overriding the will of the majority of rank-and-file Republicans.

Last month, more than 1,300 women’s and human rights groups signed a letter supporting the Senate legislation.

“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the L.G.B.T. community.”

“Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” Mr. Obama said…

Various flavors of House Republicans will now spend the next few weeks fabricating the next generation of lies about why they voted against the Senate bill, why they tried to pass a bill riddled with loopholes.

This has been a bill generating automatic bi-partisan support for decades. It has grown in breadth and concern as have the same qualities among American voters. But, now, the nutballs in charge of the Republican Party not only reject growing and learning, they reject bipartisan discussion and negotiation – and most of all – they reject any bill which appears to reflect the leadership of President Obama.

They have the stature that tiny minds deserve. An STD infecting Congress!

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