House Dems call on GOP to immediately take up Senate VAWA bill

The Senate has just passed its reauthorization bill over the objections of 22 Republicans. Many of these Republicans opposed language that they say could strip people of their constitutional rights, since it would give Indian tribes jurisdiction over some domestic abuse cases involving U.S. citizens.

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The bill also seeks to boost access to visas for non-citizens who are victims of abuse, and ensure that grants under VAWA cannot be rejected because of the sexuality of the victim.

"The bill that now comes to the House will do more to protect immigrants, LGBT Americans, and those living on Native American tribal lands," Hoyer said.

"When we wrote the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, we intended for the law to cover everyone, not single out certain people as undeserving of these protections," said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). "I'm glad the Senate passed this bill — which covers all victims of domestic violence — by such a wide bipartisan margin, and I implore the House Majority to do the right thing and bring this to the floor for a clean up-or-down vote without delay."

House Republicans, however, are expected to introduce their own legislation. The GOP put forward and passed their own bill last year, one they said addresses the constitutionality and budgetary concerns that Republicans had with the Senate bill.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said several times last year that he is working with House Democrats and Vice President Joe Biden on ways to reconcile the two versions of the bill, something he repeated earlier this month.

Because the Senate bill contained revenue measures, it had a "blue slip" problem that technically blocked the Senate from sending the bill to the House. For that reason, GOP leaders said Senate Democrats should take up the House version, but that never happened.