This week the House voted on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Since its original passage in 1994, Congress has worked in a bipartisan basis to not only reauthorize VAWA -- which helps investigate and prosecute violent crimes against women -- but to improve its ability to protect victims and ensure that law enforcement has the tools it needs to prosecute abusers. It is alarming that Republicans failed to include the Senate's improvements, like protections for Native American and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims.
The GOP version that passed actually rolls back longstanding, bipartisan protections for immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence while also repealing critical law enforcement tools needed for the prosecution of offenders. The history of previous VAWA Reauthorizations shows that Congress, whether under Republican or Democratic control, has always acted in a bipartisan fashion to improve on the promise of the original VAWA. The Senate continued this tradition last month by strengthening protections with a bipartisan supermajority. It's a shame the GOP has decided to abandon this tradition.
Domestic violence is a problem afflicting women and communities of all kinds. Instead of improving the provisions that address those problems, Republicans have chosen to advance a bill that not only omits protections for vulnerable groups but also rolls back protections already in current law.