This afternoon, after some procedural gamesmanship, the House approved the Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sending theunconstitutional bill to President Obama’s desk. The President has signed numerous constitutionally questionable bills and certainly will not hesitate to sign this one.
The question many will ask is, what now?
Unfortunately, that question is hard to answer. Over the past year, the Left managed to turn domestic violence into a political football. Rather than debate the merits of the program and examine any honest critiques, far too many resorted to demagoguery. By the end of the debate, the Left’s primary talking point was a Taylor Swift video parody.
The politicization of VAWA meant there was no appetite to evaluate the program. Indeed, many in the GOP simply wanted to get the “issued resolved” and done with. But expanding the framework of an ineffective program will not protect anyone from violence. In fact, this five-year authorization will allow politicians to look the other way. They can tell their constituents that they’ve done their part by renewing the Violence Against Women Act.
VAWA has increased prosecution rates of domestic violence cases, but there is little conclusive evidence that it has significantly reduced the incidence of violence. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the rate of intimate partner violence dropped 64% between 1994 and 2010, a drop pro-VAWA policymakers largely attribute to the law. But this decrease happened at the same time violent crime as a whole fell dramatically nationwide, making it hard to know whether a drop in domestic violence might have happened without the policies adopted under VAWA.
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is scheduled to take up the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Heritage Foundation’s David Muhlhausen explains even this revamped version has serious flaws. While the House version improves upon the Senate version in some regards, it fails to address the underlying issues surrounding VAWA.
Before the Senate passed its version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we and other conservative organizations wrote about its flaws, and more importantly, its glaring ineffectiveness.
No matter. Washington politics prevailed over fact.
The Senate passed the radically expanded VAWA with 78 votes because politicians are, well, politicians. They know that there is a sufficient amount of political clout to be gained by putting up the I’m-Great-Because-I-Help-Women façade.
Even though this bill is just that – a façade.
The House is up next and is poised to unveil its version of VAWA next week. And, unfortunately, lawmakers in the lower chamber will be confronted with the same choice: act like we’re helping women by passing VAWA or do the right thing by opposing it.