The Cantor/Adams Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization passed the US House yesterday on a nearly straight party line vote of 222-205. Only six Democrats voted yes for the GOP bill, but 23 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against it. For the first time in history, the House passed a VAWA reauthorization that rolls back rather than expands protections for victims of domestic and workplace violence. The bill now goes to a House/Senate Conference Committee along with the version of the VAWA reauthorization passed by the Senate.
Republicans made some last minute changes and took the heinous provision that immigration officials had to notify the abuser of the victim’s complaint out of the bill. However, the House GOP VAWA reauthorization still rolls back current protections for immigrant women who are suffering from domestic abuse and workplace violence.
The Cantor/Adams version does not extend protections to Native American women when they are abused by non-native spouses on tribal lands. It does not give Native American authorities the power to prosecute these non-Native abusers. More than 50 percent of Native women have non-Native spouses.
Protections for LGBT victims that were included in the VAWA reauthorization passed by the Senate were also left out of the House Cantor/Adams VAWA reauthorization. The House GOP VAWA reauthorization simply does not recognize that violence is violence and all victims deserve protection.
The House Judiciary Committee passed the Cantor/Adams VAWA Reauthorization bill in a nearly straight party line vote on May 8th. Only one Republican, Ted Poe (TX-2), joined the Democrats in voting no. The Committee, in denying consideration of the substitute bill of Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), essentially rejected what Vice President Biden (the principal author of the original VAWA) called the “real McCoy” VAWA Reauthorization, which passed the Senate with a bipartisan 68-31 vote in late April.
The Obama Administration released a Statement of Administration Policy (PDF) earlier this week in which the administration threatened to veto the House version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), HR 4970, because it does not contain many of the protective provisions that are included in the Senate version.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 5/16/2012; Feminist Majority Press Release 5/17/2012