Reauthorization Of Violence Against Women Act To Create Partisan Fight
Who could possibly be against the VAWA? Well, when it was first passed in 1994, the American Civil Liberties Union was, saying “that the increased penalties were rash, the increased pretrial detention was “repugnant” to the US Constitution, the mandatory HIV testing of those only charged but not convicted is an infringement of a citizen’s right to privacy and the edict for automatic payment of full restitution was non-judicious.” And they were really unhappy with the DNA provision. It’s been reauthorized in 2000, 2006, and is now up for re-authorization again
(NY Times) With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives.
The fight over the law, which would expand financing for and broaden the reach of domestic violence programs, will be joined Thursday when Senate Democratic women plan to march to the Senate floor to demand quick action on its extension. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has suggested he will push for a vote by the end of March.
So, as usual, a bit of Kabuki theater.
Republicans are bracing for a battle where substantive arguments could be swamped by political optics and the intensity of the clash over women’s issues. At a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sternly warned her colleagues that the party was at risk of being successfully painted as antiwoman – with potentially grievous political consequences in the fall, several Republican senators said Wednesday.
Why would Republicans be against the re-authorization as written? Because Senate Democrats included multiple poison pills
“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”
Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.
Everything was fine when the re-authorization process started in November, 2011, and then Democrats started adding things
The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,” Mr. Grassley said when the committee took up the measure. After his alternative version was voted down on party lines, the original passed without a Republican vote.
Women, and especially women who have been the targets of domestic violence, should be appalled that Democrats are using this legislation as a political football. Democrats are attempting to create a diversionary issue, one that deflects from their horrendous legislative record, especially Obama’s, where no issue should exist.