The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a bipartisan bill, which first passed in 1994 and has been reauthorized twice since then, increased federal penalties for domestic violence and provided funding for groups and services that aid victims of domestic abuse. The bill hit the bipartisan sweet spot of being both tough on crime and oriented toward women’s rights. Usually it’s reauthorized without much fanfare. This time around, however, several Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), are putting up a fight. Despite the fact that the bill has several Republican sponsors, all eight GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee voted against the bill when the committee considered it last month.( Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID))
VAWA’s reauthorization bill that protects victims of domestic violence has been stalled because of the insertion of additional provisions that were added to the original bill. Additions include undocumented immigrants, as well as LGBT and Native American victims of domestic violence. Congress failed to reauthorize the amended bill by the end of 2012, and the Senate is now considering the same legislation again, in its new legislative session.
All of the women in the Senate, with the exception of Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), co-sponsored the legislation. If it passes the Senate it will go to the house where it is expected to face tougher scrutiny.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what has the GOP riled up. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/republicans-violence-against-women-act
1- Tribal law: The current version of the Violence Against Women Act would allow tribal authorities to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence cases on Indian reservations, but Republicans are opposing it because they don’t like the idea of Native American law applying to non-tribe members.
2- Immigration: The original Violence Against Women Act contained provisions that allow undocumented victims of domestic violence to apply for legal status, called a U visa, if they agree to cooperate with law enforcement.
3- LGBT rights: “I agree that shelters and other grant recipients should provide services equally to everyone,” said Grassley. “But advocates of this provision haven’t produced data that shelters have refused to provide services for these reasons.” He added that the nondiscrimination provisions were “a political statement that shouldn’t be made on a bill that is designed to address actual needs of victims.”
Here is another example of the real war against women- changing a reauthorization they know would have sailed through was designed to use women in order to hurt the other party:
Clearly a clean bill without the new provisions would have been reauthorized immediately, apparently one party is again using women to start a fight with the other party at women’s expense. Pass the bill as is without adding these three extra’s that are purposely holding up the bill so the Elephants in the room can be blamed for refusing to pass the bill. Clearly the Jackasses are responsible for this! Isn’t it time politicians stop the war on women as a tool to fight each other. Enough we are not a political tool – we are the majority and we deserve better.
Women we must stand up and demand that we will no longer tolerate being used on any level. Unite against this! Call your representatives and demand they reauthorize the original bill and deal with the other issues separately. VAWA must be reauthorized NOW!