I’m normally disinclined to write in the first person, because I write not on behalf of myself, but on behalf of conservatives, and specifically, on behalf of the conservative organization by which I am employed. But may I just say, that as a woman, I have no interest in seeing myself or any other woman become a victim of violence.
That said, I do not hesitate for a moment to call the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) completely useless legislation. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) may disagree. Roll Call reports that Sen. Leahy has built a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority to advance VAWA in the near future. The article states that lawmakers “failed” to approve VAWA’s reauthorization in the last Congress.
But can refraining from reauthorizing such flawed legislation properly be called failure? No. Not at all, actually.
While House Republicans and President Obama continue their behind the scenes negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff,” backroom negotiations continue on other year-end legislative “priorities.” One of these is the reauthorization of the so-called Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The Senate version of VAWA (S. 1925) greatly expands the scope and focus of a 1994 law. As Heritage’s David Muhlhausen and Independent Women’s Forum’s Christina Villegas pointed out in their report last summer:
The bill engages in mission creep by expanding VAWA to men and prisoners, despite the lack of scientifically rigorous evaluations to determine the effectiveness of existing VAWA programs; the bill expands upon the already duplicative grant programs authorized by VAWA; and without precedent , the bill surrenders the rights of Americans who are not American Indians to racially exclusive tribal courts.
It is the last provision that has stirred the most controversy. The House passed its reauthorization of VAWA (HR 4970) back in May without extending the criminal jurisdiction of tribal courts. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner summarized the concerns of many conservatives when he stated, “Making an issue of whether a non-Indian can be prosecuted in a tribal court…brings huge constitutional issues because the Bill of Rights does not apply in tribal courts.”
Last Thursday, the Senate voted on a reauthorization and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which makes domestic violence – typically handled by state and local governments – a federal crime. The reauthorization of VAWA also broadened the definition of the word “women” to also mean “men,” by allowing homosexual men, transgenders, and prisoners to be covered under the law. The vote results are listed below, along with a list of the Republicans who voted incorrectly (no Democrats voted against this bill):
This week, the Senate is expected to (finally) take up 3 bills which Heritage Action has key voted: the Postal Bailout Reform bill, the so-called Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the Snap Elections Resolution of Disapproval. The postal bailout and VAWA need to be taken down, but the Senate should support the Resolution of Disapproval, and here’s why:
The Senate’s reauthorization and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) faces long odds in the House, as the bill language expands federal powers far beyond domestic violence against women to include protections to homosexual men and transgenders; effectively making the title of the bill an election-year gimmick.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are wise to this political ploy, and are expressing reservations about advancing the language of the Senate bill, even though it is expected to pass the Senate with bipartisan support, according to CQ (subs. req’d.):
“In the House, the debate over renewing the law is just beginning. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he backs extending the law without additions, a position that would represent defeat for advocacy groups pressing for the expanded version for months.