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The federal reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has fallen victim to political bickering, with the House of Representatives and the Senate refusing even to consider the versions passed by each other, the Idaho Statesman reports.

Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, a sponsor of the Senate version, said it was pure gridlock, and he's not sure how the standoff will be resolved. "I think there's a bit of a stare-down going on there with the House leadership and the Senate leadership," Crapo said in an interview. ... The gridlock is another sign of Congress' inability to do much of anything but bicker this year. This is the third time the Violence Against Women Act has been up for reauthorization since 2000 and it has never been controversial before. The landmark 18-year-old law includes measures to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence; among other things it provides short-term housing for abused women and grants for law enforcement staffing and training.
Here is the background:

A critical federal measure to assist victims of domestic violence has passed in the United States Senate in March.  Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) in introducing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925.  

“I am a long-time champion of the prevention of domestic violence because I have seen the impact of this abuse in Idaho,” Crapo said.  “The Act provides critical services to victims of violent crime, as well as agencies and organizations that provide important aid to those victims.”
Crapo noted that VAWA has been the centerpiece of the nation’s commitment to end domestic, dating and sexual violence for nearly eighteen years.  The measure provides access to legal and social services for survivors of domestic violence, and provides training to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, attorneys and advocates to address these crimes in our nation’s communities.
“Last year in Idaho, twenty-two people were killed by a domestic partner,” Crapo added.  “Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner.  Nearly one in ten high school students nation-wide were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend.  Future tragedies must be prevented.  While we may not all agree on the specifics of this reauthorization, all of us agree that we must end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States.”
The widely-supported legislation, which passed the senate 68 to 31, improves existing programs to address evolving needs in the fight against domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.   VAWA provides tools to prevent domestic violence homicides by supporting training to those law enforcement officers, victim service providers and court personnel who are working on the frontlines to eliminate domestic violence.  The legislation also promotes accountability to ensure that federal funds are used for their intended purposes, and consolidates programs and reduces authorization levels to address fiscal concerns while focusing on the programs that have been the most successful.

The House version took direct aim at immigrant victims:  

The House passed its own version last week stripping out the new provisions, drawing a veto threat from President Barack Obama, who said it didn't do enough to protect battered immigrants, Native Americans or gays. The White House said in a statement that the House version took "direct aim at immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault" and jeopardized victims by placing them "directly in harm's way."

The House now refuses to negotiate over the Senate version of the bill, saying it includes fees associated with visas for immigrant abuse victims and that a clause in the Constitution requires all bills that raise revenue to originate in the House.

Further reading: Leahy: House Should Support Senate Bipartisan Bill To Support ALL Victims Of Violence.
Few laws have had a greater impact on the lives of women in this country than the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  By shining a light on the insidious crimes of domestic and sexual violence, this law’s initial passage nearly 20 years ago sent a powerful message that violence against women would no longer be tolerated. The days of dismissing these crimes with a joke or a shrug were over.  The resources, training and law enforcement tools provided by VAWA transformed the criminal justice and community-based response to abuse. It gave support and protection to the victims who for generations had been blamed, humiliated and ignored.

With each reauthorization of this landmark law, Congress has repeatedly shown its bipartisan commitment to ending domestic and sexual violence by building on the protections in the initial legislation and expanding the reach of VAWA to meet the remaining unmet needs of victims.  - Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act Of 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this week that the Republicans who controlled the House were engaged in "blatant obstruction" of the bill.

"The truth is Republicans are looking for any excuse to stall or kill this worthy legislation," Reid said in a speech on the Senate floor. "And American women aren't fooled."

Originally posted to The Book Bear on Thu May 24, 2012 at 05:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm confused (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, cany

    this is the version of the Act that is in limbo because it didn't originate in the House.  What is the point of this diary?

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:33:44 PM PDT

  •  I'm confused too. I thought the Senate passed it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, Gemina13

    a while ago, but the House is passing their own version, taking out protections that are in the Senate version. There was also some discussion on whether the fact that there was something involving money meant it couldn't originate in the Senate. I haven't heard anything new recently.

    •  They did. I think Book Bear (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Book Bear

      just got the constituent email announcement from Crapo. At least it's not from Cornyn or Hutchison as mine are :-)

      The Republicans have earned a reputation as the ‘do-nothing party’ and now they want to also be the ‘know-nothing party.' ~~ Rep. Carolyn Maloney

      by MKSinSA on Wed May 23, 2012 at 08:27:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  House version took direct aim at immigrant victims (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA
    The House passed its own version last week stripping out the new provisions, drawing a veto threat from President Barack Obama, who said it didn't do enough to protect battered immigrants, Native Americans or gays. The White House said in a statement that the House version took "direct aim at immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault" and jeopardized victims by placing them "directly in harm's way."

    The House now refuses to negotiate over the Senate version of the bill, saying it includes fees associated with visas for immigrant abuse victims and that a clause in the Constitution requires all bills that raise revenue to originate in the House.

    Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/...
    •  Please don't take this as anything more than (0+ / 0-)

      constructive criticism for an improved diary (OK, that sounds pretty negative, pompous, and snarky in itsownself, but I'm gonna run with it), but you would more clearly address the point of your post title by including this information from your comment in the body of your diary rather than making it some sort of link or comment...

      THAT information displays the insistence of House Republicans to make some unrelated absurd connection between this otherwise noncontroversial reauthorization and whatever twisted agenda that they want to pursue...    

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

      by Jack K on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:36:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Apparently Crapo hasn't noticed (4+ / 0-)

    that his fellow COP members seem to think women deserve violence at the hands of men. These are the same folks who wanted to redefine rape to make sure it was sufficiently violent and forcible so, you know, the non-violent rapists don't to have to pay such a high price (because they wouldn't have raped the slut if she hadn't been wearing  trampy clothes or gone to a bar alone or dared to be out at night without a master, er, man). They were also behind the notion of requiring  toi have (and pay for) a mandatory ultrasound, preferably one involving a transvaginal probe.  And a lot of his fellow Republicans also follow a pernicious form of Christianity which teaches wives to be submissive tot heir husbands and to obey them as if he were Jesus--and grants him the duty and right to chastise a disobedient wife. Oh, and let's not forget all the advocates of not sparing the rod--let's physically abuse children too,

    That, Mr. Crap, is why your fellow Republicans are fucking with this bill (and fucking women over in the process). They really don't care about women.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:40:24 PM PDT

  •  I want you people to read this all carefully (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, turn blue, greengemini, LyGypsy

    and get it straight.

    Gay people marrying is a HUGE HUGE threat to proper heterosexual marriage......almost as big a threat to heterosexual marriage as preventing wife/spouse beating would be.

    If we cannot threaten our loved ones with violence and death, how can we expect to live normal lives?

    ;)

    #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:00:44 AM PDT

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