House Democrats voiced extreme opposition to a GOP version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) they argue lacks provisions that extend the authority of the law to minority women, Native American women and members of the LGBT community.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued that the Republican bill "is a step backward" from current legislation. Instead, House Democrats are pressing leadership to take up a Senate version that gained bipartisan support and passed by a 68-31 margin.
"In sharp contrast, the House Republicans have brought to the floor today a controversial bill that will weaken protections we give to those who suffer domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking," Pelosi said. "All people deserve to be protected from domestic violence, there should be no exceptions in this law."
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), through personal experience, argued that the provisions being omitted from House Republicans' VAWA will inadequately support minority women and as well as women living on tribal lands.
"I am particularly aggrieved that this bill ignores the special circumstances of women who are minorities, women who are in the shadows," Moore said. "And where we have created a veritable sanctuary for those who would commit sexual assault and abuse them on tribal lands."
The White House issued a veto threat to the GOP bill Tuesday.
"For instance, H.R. 4970 fails to provide for concurrent special domestic-violence criminal jurisdiction by tribal authorities over non-Indians, and omits clarification of tribal courts' full civil jurisdiction regarding certain protection orders over non-Indians," the White House said in a statement.
"The bill also fails to include language that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT victims in VAWA grant programs. No sexual-assault or domestic-violence victim should be beaten, hurt, or killed because they could not access needed support, assistance, and protection."
House Republicans are likely to pass their version of VAWA Wednesday. As a result, both chambers will have to move to conference -- yet again -- in hopes of finding common ground.