House Voting on Violence Bill, Draws Veto Threat
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House is voting on a Republican-written bill to renew the Violence Against Women Act, but the White House has threatened to veto it.
On the eve of Wednesday’s vote, the White House said the GOP-written bill didn’t go far enough to protect battered illegal immigrants, Native Americans or gays.
The GOP proposals, which differ from a Senate-passed version, "take direct aim at immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault" and "jeopardize victims by placing them directly in harm’s way," the White House said in a statement.
The overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims are women - a critical constituency this presidential and congressional election year and one without which Obama would not be president. The renewal of the act, reauthorized twice with overwhelming bipartisan support, is the latest example of partisan warfare this year over women’s issues that have won wide agreement in the past.
The Violence Against Women Act was established in 1994 to provide taxpayer money for the prevention of domestic abuse and the protection of victims. The last reauthorization, in 2005, expired in 2011.
Majority Democrats in the Senate would expand the law to specifically protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender Americans from discrimination and abuse in a move many Republicans saw as a provocation to vote against a bill approved without objection previously. Senate Republicans also objected to Democratic provisions in the bill that would give tribal authorities the power to prosecute non-Indians for abuse committed on tribal lands, saying it was unconstitutional because the accused would have no role in shaping laws that could be used against them.