On Tuesday, Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The version of the bill they introduced is the same version that passed in the Senate during the last legislative session. Additionally, Democrats in the House of Representativesintroduced a reauthorization bill that is identical to the Senate version, H.R. 11.

The bipartisan-supported Senate Violence Against Women Act includes expanded protections for Native American women, LGBTQ individuals, students, and immigrant women. In addition, the proposed reauthorizationcloses a loop-hole in regards to U visas that House conservatives had used as an excuse to dismiss the Act in the last session. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told reporters “In the interest of making quick and decisive progress, we introduce the bill today without that provision in order to remove any excuse for House inaction.”

VAWA expired at the end of 2012. This was the first time VAWA has not been reauthorized since it was first passed in 1994. House conservatives had proposed their own version of the reauthorization in the last legislative session, the Cantor/Adams VAWA, that did not include protections for Native American women, LGBTQ individuals, and other disenfranchised groups.

Media Resources: Associated Press 1/23/2013; MSNBC 1/23/2013; Thomas.gov 1/23/2013; TPM 1/23/2013; Feminist Newswire 1/3/2013, 5/17/2012

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