The House voted on Thursday to pass the Senate’s bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The legislation that assists victims of domestic and sexual violence passed on a vote of 286 to 138, with 199 Democrats joining 87 Republicans to reauthorize the 1994 law. President Obama has pledged to sign VAWA.
“Today Congress put politics aside and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Eighteen years ago, I envisioned a world where women could live free from violence and abuse. Since VAWA first passed in 1994, we have seen a 64 percent reduction in domestic violence. I am pleased that this progress will continue, with new tools for cops and prosecutors to hold abusers and rapists accountable, and more support for all victims of these crimes,” President Obama said in a statement issued shortly after the vote. ABC News/Univision politics reporter Emily Deruy points out House Republicans objected “to the fact that the bill includes a provision that allows Native American authorities to prosecute non-American Indians in tribal courts. It also includes protections for immigrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Akiba Solomon, Colorlines’ managing editor, said “it’s pitiful that it took the loss of a presidential election and a rethinking of the entire GOP strategy to convince some House Republicans that just because a bill is called the ‘Violence Against Women Act’ that doesn’t give them the right to obstruct measures designed to protect transgender people, gay men and reservation-based Native American women who are sexually assaulted by non-Native American men. I’m still floored that not once, but twice, some House Republicans actually opposed a bill because it helps too many people suffering intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual violence. I’m glad, however that the bill passed and look forward to it becoming more effective.”