Morning Action: Acknowledging VAWA’s Flaws in the Eleventh Hour
VAWA. Last night, the Republican-controlled House Rules Committee set up a scenario that seems to pave the way for passage of the Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act. Now, at the last minute, Time is calling into question VAWA’s effectiveness:
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.
Some feminist researchers have another reason to criticize mandatory arrest laws: They say the policies do nothing to address the causes of intimate partner violence, which is highly correlated with unemployment and economic distress. Even worse, these researchers say, mandatory arrest laws remove the preferences of abused women from a process that can leave them financially strapped and worried that the state will take custody of their children. “When you institute a mandatory arrest policy, the hope is that you will control the police and make sure they respond,” says Donna Coker, a former battered women’s shelter worker and now a law professor at the University of Miami. “But too often, it has the unintended consequence of increasing the potential for state control of marginalized women.”
SEQUESTER. Despite all of President Obama’s fear mongering about the sequester, people are beginning to ask the following questions:
But what if the sequester, which would cut $85 billion from federal spending between March 1 and the end of September, turns out to be less of a calamity than Obama has warned? How might that affect his credibility and his political capital?
Some suggest that the President will lose credibility if the sequester happens despite the fact that he asserted during the presidential debates that the sequester “will not happen.”
But more to the point, he will not only have been wrong about that. He will have been wrong about the sky falling, too, which is what he’s been stressing in the current sequester debate. And even more importantly, while the President distracts the nation with antics about the sequester cuts, “ the economy is working through a tax increase nearly twice the size of the sequestration cuts for fiscal year (FY) 2013.”
BALANCE. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) expressed in very clear terms that the Senate must do its job:
We have moved the bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.
In a follow up interview with Scott Pelley on CBS News he stated:
Our members want us to have cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next ten years. That’s what we want. And that’s a tall order. It’s gonna mean real work on our entitlement programs, real work on other spending items in the budget.
HAGEL. Some may wonder why conservatives were so outspoken in our opposition to Chuck Hagel when it was so likely the President would get his way. The bottom line is that true conservatives act on principle, as one writer suggests:
The opposition arose spontaneously among thinkers and activists long familiar with Hagel’s views and the stands he took throughout his career. They — we — came to share the common view that he wasn’t fit for this extraordinarily important job. The nomination required us to speak out, no matter how elusive the goal of stopping him.
In fact, failing to oppose a nominee who has said what Hagel has said, and who stands for what Hagel stands for, would’ve been an open acknowledgment that his words and his stands were acceptable. They were not. They are not.