The House voted Thursday to accept the bipartisan Violence Against Women Senate bill, 286-138. Eighty-seven Republicans and 199 Democrats to support the bill; no Democrats opposed it.
After 500 days of delay, GOP leaders gave up fighting protections for LGBT and Native American women and allowed the bill, which was first passed in 1994, to come to the floor after first voting on a Republican substitute version of the legislation (that wasn't expected to succeed) in hopes of saving face. Keep fighting the good fight against protecting and assisting all women facing domestic abuse, you guys!
Supporters were thrilled about the bill's passing. "Today's vote to renew VAWA is a big victory for victims of sexual violence," Scott Berkowitz, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network's president and founder, said in a statement. "This bill extends successful programs that have helped reduce rape in the US, while adding new protections for victims. It also incorporates the SAFER Act, which will help eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases and take countless rapists off the streets."
Some Republicans said the Senate bill would infringe on the rights of the accused and that the Republican bill was more "principled." From Politico:
"While I support the Violence Against Women Act because it's personal, I support the House amendment because it's principled," said Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). "Our Constitution in its genius guarantees due process, due process to the accused. Innocent until proven guilty is the cornerstone of American justice… Please consider the damage we'll have done if a court overturns this act and it's protections because we wanted a good political slogan, rather than a good law."
Right. Respectfully, Rep. Cramer can stick that up his "principled" ass.
VAWA is finally headed to President Barack Obama's desk for his signature. We wish we could group-hug all of the amazing, hardworking advocates and legislators who refused to compromise on passing a bill that would protect all women.