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Cathy Meyer

Violence Against Women Act passes the Senate

By February 12, 2013

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In a show of bipartisanship, the Senate voted today to renew the two decade old Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) adding new provisions to ensure that gays and lesbians, Native American women and immigrants will have access to VAWA's anti-domestic violence programs.

VAWA has aided millions of domestic violence victims and reduced the rates of domestic abuse over the last 20 years. It expired in 2011 and since, Congress has struggled to replace it.

House Republicans balked at new bills passed last year by both the House and Senate, they were not happy with the extensions in the act that had been added by Senate Democrats.

Could it be that GOP leadership decided to back VAWA and get it passed due to the poor showing from women during last fall's election?

Passage by the Senate means VAWA is onto the House for a vote, where it was shut down last year in the 112th Congress by members of the GOP. The future of the legislation is unclear. Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) indicated that although Republicans want to move forward on passing VAWA, some members within the party are still unwilling to show support in its current incarnation. Let's hope that the House GOP is as concerned about the negative message a vote against re-authorizing the bill will send to women voters.

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