After months of stalling and obstruction, the House minutes ago finally declared defeat and voted to accept the Senate’s broader version of the Violence Against Women Act, passing it 286 – 138. Republican House members, especially Eric Cantor, had worked hard to defeat the Democrats’ additions, which included protections for LGBT and native American victims of abuse.
The only “no” votes were from Republicans.
“The House bill also entirely left out two separate measures attached to the Senate bill: the SAFER Act, which helps law enforcement address a backlog in untested rape kits, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which targets human trafficking,” the Huffington Post reports:
Seventeen House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last month urging passage of a bipartisan bill. Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) said she planned to vote for the Senate bill, as did Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a leading voice on tribal issues.
The GOP bill “does not adequately recognize sovereignty” and fails to give tribal courts “the tools they need to combat violence against women,” Cole said in a statement, read aloud on the floor by a Democratic colleague.
Even conservative Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said he planned to vote for the Senate bill because it included the SAFER Act.
The House’s action means that VAWA will be reauthorized for another five years, with $659 million being provided for various programs targeting domestic violence. Congress failed to reauthorized VAWA when it expired in Oct. 2011, due in large part to House Republican opposition over the new provisions in the Senate bill.
— Sandra Fluke (@SandraFluke) February 28, 2013
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