Reid: House GOP's delays on VAWA are 'shameless' and 'unthinkable'

Later Monday, the Senate will vote on a motion to proceed to VAWA, S. 47, which stalled last year over differences between the House and Senate versions. Both the House and Senate passed their own versions during the 112th Congress, but neither chamber took up the other's version.

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Democrats, including President Obama, said they preferred the Senate-passed version because it gave tribal authorities jurisdiction over non-Indians in domestic violence cases. The Senate bill also prohibits discrimination against LGBT victims in grant programs to help victims, and would let illegal immigrants stay in the country to receive help if they are victims of domestic violence or rape. The House-passed bill did not include extending protections to victims of domestic violence who are Native Americans, LGBT or immigrants.

“Every victim of domestic violence deserves protections under the law,” Reid said. “I hope swift action by the Senate on this legislation send a strong message to House Republican leaders that further delay is unacceptable.”

VAWA provides grants to victims of domestic violence in order to encourage victims to leave their abusive situations. Some feel they can’t get away from their abusers because they might not have another form of family income, so the grants can provide housing assistance and cellphones for victims.

Reid said the bill has reduced cases of domestic violence by 53 percent since it was originally passed two decades ago.