Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said Monday that she voted against the Violence Against Women Act because it protected “other different groups.”
During an appearance on MSNBC, Blackburn said the Violence Against Women Act had become “diluted” and “unfocused” due to new provisions added to the bill.
“I didn’t like the way it was expanded to include other different groups,” she explained. “What you need is something that is focused specifically to help these shelters and to help our law enforcement, who is trying to work with the crimes that have been committed against women and helping them to stand up.”
Though Blackburn supported House versions of the Violence Against Women Act, she voted against the more inclusive Senate version.
The Senate’s version of the Violence Against Women Act included new protections for Native Americans, LGBT individuals, and undocumented immigrants.
In particular, it allowed tribal courts to prosecute non-tribal individuals accused of domestic and sexual crimes that occurred on tribal land, removed barriers that prevented LGBT victims from accessing services, and provided additional temporary visas to abused undocumented immigrations.
The legislation was originally enacted in 1994 and easily renewed with bipartisan support twice since. But opposition to the new protections caused the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act to die in the Republican-led House last year.
Facing increasing pressure, the House approved the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act by a 286-138 vote last month.