Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Return of VAWA?

On Monday, we found out that "Tea Party, Inc." will be whipping House Republicans against renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Believe it or not, they actually claim this "violates men's civil rights". When did domestic violence become a "civil right"?

Yet now, House Republican leaders seem to be going in a different direction. After nearly a year of stonewalling VAWA, they're now promising a floor vote on it.

“The House will consider a strong Violence Against Women Act in the coming weeks so we can protect all women from acts of violence while prosecuting offenders to the fullest extent of the law,” Doug Heye, [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor’s [R-Virginia] deputy chief of staff, told TPM on Wednesday.

House Republicans, who blocked the Senate’s bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA last year, are under pressure not just from Democrats but Senate Republicans, too, to put this issue behind them, especially after the difficulties Republicans had with women voters in the 2012 elections. Cantor has taken the lead in trying to find a way forward, but House Republicans have yet to introduce a companion bill to what passed the Senate.

There is a catch here. House Republicans will be introducing their own version of VAWA. And we don't know yet how closely (if at all) it will resemble the Senate version that passed overwhelmingly this week.

But hey, at least they're now saying the House will finally vote on VAWA renewal at some point in the future. And they may be changing their tune after catching so much political heat over this issue.

Last year, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) was part of the G-O-TEA bloc that blocked VAWA renewal. But now, Heck actually praising the Senate's passage of VAWA and calling on the House to do the same. What a difference an election makes.

So perhaps we will finally see a resolution to this surreal VAWA fight. Perhaps, Republicans are finally seeing the light. Or perhaps they're just seeing they're losing their War on Women?

Again, it seems so insane to think of offering women a way out of domestic violence as a "controversial issue". But then again, we've never seen a Congress so broken down before. Will the House finally get its act together and pass the bipartisan VAWA renewal that the Senate has just approved?

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