Sen. Chuck Grassley (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
What Republican war on women? The Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized in 2005 by unanimous consent in the Senate and with 415 votes in favor in the House, and signed by George W. Bush. It's up for reauthorization again now, and of course, this time, Republicans have a problem with it. The bill—which is actually cosponsored by Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo—received no Republican votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Oh, they'll tell you they want to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act ... but of course, they want to do it their way. "The Republican opposition seems driven largely by an antigay, anti-immigrant agenda," a New York Times editorial explains:
The main sticking points seemed to be language in the bill to ensure that victims are not denied services because they are gay or transgender and a provision that would modestly expand the availability of special visas for undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence — a necessary step to encourage those victims to come forward.
It's not just that, though. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, not only wants to eliminate those provisions, but has his own version of the bill that contains "a huge reduction in authorized financing, and elimination of the Justice Department office devoted to administering the law and coordinating the nation’s response to domestic violence and sexual assaults." Grassley's funding cuts are above and beyond the $135 million reduction
in funding from 2005 levels already contained in the bill the Judiciary Committee Republicans unanimously rejected.
Nothing to see here! It's all just a coincidence that Republicans are going to the mat both to cut funding to protect women from domestic violence and sexual assault and to protect employers from having to offer complete preventive health care to women if that means women might have sex without being punished for it.
1:29 PM PT: Sign our petition telling Senate Republicans to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act without further cutting funding.