Domestic violence law clears House, but some Republicans aren't happy
The Violence Against Women Act now goes to President Obama's desk, but a majority of Republicans in the House didn't back it. Some say the domestic violence law was flawed and rammed through by leadership.
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This time, House Republicans, led by majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia, tried for weeks to craft a bill that could pass with solely Republican support. But because of issues relating to native Americans and the LGBT community, particularly, that consensus proved elusive and the House GOP bill failed to pass on Thursday.Skip to next paragraph
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That may have been a good thing, says Rep. Tom Cole (R) of Oklahoma, one of two lawmakers of native American heritage, because it eliminates the need for a contentious conference committee between the House and Senate to hammer out a compromise – during which Democrats could have continued to hammer Republicans on the “war on women.”
“It’s not a partisan Democratic bill,” says Representative Cole of the Senate measure, which he voted for on Thursday. “I think a bipartisan solution for this actually speaks better for the Congress than a strict partisan bill that would probably push us into a conference that would be deadlocked for weeks.”
Republican opposition in the House included concerns that the bill was foisted onto the conference without going through the regular committee process and that the bill passed without a majority of House Republicans in support. The latter is something many believed Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio would refuse to do after the contentious "fiscal cliff" deal passed with a paltry minority of Republicans.
Passing a bill that didn’t go through the committee process “is a huge concern,” said Rep. Raul Labrador (R) of Idaho on Wednesday. “I know there’s a lot of people who are upset about the process, not necessarily the language of the bill or anything like that. If eventually we get the Senate passed-bill, if that’s what happens after regular order, then that’s going to be the law of the land.”
Democrats, for their part, were ecstatic.
“For over 500 days women have been waiting and praying for this day to come,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D) of Wisconsin, herself the survivor of a violent sexual assault. “Today, the majority of this body stood up for all women – including native, LGBT, and immigrant women. We answered their clarion call and declared that we will protect the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking.”
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