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Violence Against Women Act renewed by Senate

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Senate has approved legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. While met with opposition by some Republicans, Senators voted 78 to 22 to send their version of the bill to the Republican-controlled House, where it faces an uncertain future.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Several Republican senators along with their democratic counterparts voted to renew the landmark gender and domestic violence law. The measure had lapsed at the end of 2012 after lawmakers in the last Congress failed to reach agreement on an extension.

Republicans had long objected to certain stipulations of the reauthorization. High among them was a technical dispute over jurisdiction for Native American tribal authorities in the instances of certain crimes.

"Especially in communities like West Virginia where victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in rural and remote communities face unique obstacles in their efforts to escape abusive and dangerous relationships, support provided by VAWA can literally be lifesaving," West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a relatively moderate Republican who's running for Senate in 2014 says. "I am urging House leaders to immediately reauthorize this essential Act."

The Violence Against Women Act and others like that have become a lightning rod in the realm of gender politics. Democrats have favored casting Republicans as leading a "war on women" during last year's election. Democrats were all too eager to seize on GOP opposition to a contraception mandate, or controversial statements made by Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock about rape.

A group of 17 House GOP lawmakers wrote the party's leadership this week urging them to take up the Senate bill that had been passed. If those Republicans were to join with every House Democrat in support of the bill, it would be enough to pass the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in the House.

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