VAWA... it's about time!

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Yesterday, the Senate finally reauthorized protections for victims of domestic abuse. Originally passed in 1994, The Violence Against Women Act was not reauthorized by Congress back in 2012. The bill finally cleared the Senate yesterday, with a vote of 78 to 22. All 22 Senators who opposed the vote were Republican men. Among them were Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Marco Rubio.

The legislation was delayed in the Senate because of Republican opposition to protections for Native America, undocumented immigrants, and LGBT victims of domestic violence. After finally passing yesterday, the bill's co-sponsor, democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said, “A victim is a victim is a victim, and violence is violence is violence.” Well said Senator.

This is another victorious battle against the Republican war on women, but with the on-going attack on reproductive rights, it looks like we have a long fight ahead.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
Dec. 29, 2009 9:59 am


I asked Rand Paul why he voted against the VAWA act and received this email reply on 2/25/2013:

Dear Ms. ,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013 (S. 47). I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

S. 47 would reauthorize and expand a variety of grant programs aimed at countering domestic violence through 2018. While countering violent crimes is a cause that enjoys universal support, the debate over S. 47 has become contentious due to the inclusion of a variety of controversial new elements to the bill. The legislation would increase benefits available under VAWA to specifically include victims of stalking and "cyberstalking," as well as same-sex couples, and illegal immigrants who are victims of any sort of violence.

In addition, much of the grant funding provided under VAWA does not directly benefit victims of domestic violence, but goes toward domestic violence research, as well as lobbying for specific state and local law enforcement policies, such as mandatory arrest laws when responding to domestic violence incidents. A variety of studies have shown that the enactment of mandatory arrest laws can actually aggravate further domestic violence. In states where such policies have been enacted, intimate partner homicides have been seen to increase by as much as 60 percent.

Finally, S. 47 expands provisions related to domestic violence on tribal lands, and expands tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Native Americans. Historically, tribal courts have had jurisdiction over members of their tribe, and moreover, defendants are not constitutionally entitled to the full protections of the Bill of Rights in tribal court.

I am against violence against women, children, men-anyone. Under our Constitution, states are given the responsibility for prosecution of those violent crimes. They don't need Washington telling them how to provide services and prosecute criminals in these cases. Under the Constitution, states are responsible for enacting and enforcing criminal law. As written, S. 47 muddles the lines between federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement.

The Senate defeated a number of helpful amendments to S. 47, including one offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would have more quickly resolved rape cases by reducing unnecessary duplications and overlap within Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) grant programs. The amendment would have required DOJ to consolidate some of the overlapping programs identified by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), and use at least $600 million of the funds saved to support reducing the backlog of rape kits. Doing so would help bring criminals to justice. Unfortunately, the amendment (S.Amdt 15) failed by a vote of 46-53. The Senate proceeded to pass S. 47 on Feb. 12, 2012, by a vote of 78-22. I voted against it. It now awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.

Once more, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance in the future. I look forward to hearing from you again.


Rand Paul, MD
United States Senator

airedale68's picture
Aug. 18, 2011 4:03 pm

2/28/13 -

House passes Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act

Jul. 7, 2011 11:13 am

And the lying continues.

Many house republicans who voted against the senate version of the VAWA reauthorization, which was passed by the house and signed by the president, falsely have claimed they voted FOR the VAWA when in reality they voted AGAINST the senate version. Others who voted against the senate version have stated they supported the VAWA, or are trying to take credit for it passing.

The house version of the bill did not contain protections for women who are Native-Americans, LGBT, or "illegal" immigrants. It was defeated before the chamber voted on and passed the senate version. The "cover" in that pointy little head of house republicans is they voted for the stripped-down house version of the bill, with the exclusions.

Senate republicans can't play that game, but one who voted NO on the VAWA reauthorization still is trying to take credit for it.

Sen Cornyn, your nose is growing!

John Cornyn Applauds Violence Against Women Act Becoming Law, Even Though He Voted Against It

Cornyn hails VAWA law he opposed

Sen. Cornyn didn't vote for the Violence Against Women Act, but he still wants credit for it

GOP Senator Takes Credit For Anti-Rape Law He Voted Against

Jul. 7, 2011 11:13 am

Trump Is Using Racist White People To Make The Rich Richer

There is this whole mythology that Donald Trump came to power because 53% of white women voted for him, because 66% of white working men who didn't have a college degree voted for him.

That may be, but those are not his constituents. Those are his suckers. Those are his rubes.

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