Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID) voted against advancing legislation to renew the 1994 law. Despite opposition from these eight lawmakers, the bill is expected to be approved in the Senate by the end of the week.
“Since we first passed the Violence Against Women Act nearly two decades ago, states have strengthened criminal rape statutes, and every state has made stalking a crime,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), co-author of the bill, explained. “The annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent. We have helped to provide victims with critical services like housing and legal protection. We need to remember that behind those numbers are thousands of lives made immeasurably better.”
Though the Senate approved the bill with bipartisan support last year, House Republicans allowed the bill to die because of new protections for immigrants, Native Americans, and members of the LGBT community. The provision related to immigrants has been removed from the current bill, but is expected to be included as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
“Today’s vote brings us one step closer to finally renewing our national commitment to ending domestic violence,” Patty Murray (D-WA) said. “And while I’m encouraged by the renewed sense of bipartisanship on this issue in the Senate, and look forward to its passage in the near future, the ultimate fate of VAWA still lays squarely on the shoulders of Eric Cantor and John Boehner. They can either give in to the extreme voices of their caucus or they can stand with Democrats, moderate Republicans, and the many millions of Americans who believe there is no reason this critical bill should be put on the back burner or delayed any further.”
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