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"A victim is a victim is a victim and violence is violence is violence," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) immediately before the final vote on the Violence Against Women Act began in the Senate Tuesday afternoon. The bill passed, once again, on a strong bipartisan vote of 78 to 22.

But sadly, whether a victim is a victim and all victims are equally deserving of protection has been a matter of some dispute in Congress, as House Republicans refused to bring the Senate's bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to a vote in 2012 because Republicans didn't want to expand—and even wanted to weaken—protections for Native American, immigrant, and LGBT victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The bill's passage in the Senate was no surprise, but before it could pass there were a number of amendments defeated, including one which would have stripped out the expanded protections for Native American women.

The question now is if House Republican leaders will bring the bipartisan bill to a vote, as they refused to do last year. Prior to the Senate vote,

"I see reason to hope they might consider" the Senate bill this year, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., pointing to a letter Monday from 17 House Republicans urging GOP leaders to move swiftly to reauthorize the act.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is allegedly on the case, trying to get the Violence Against Women reauthorized. But Cantor was allegedly on the case in the final weeks of 2012 and we know how that turned out.

Please sign the petition from Daily Kos and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee urging House Republicans to protect all women by passing the Senate version of the expanded, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act.

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