Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyPassing US-Canada preclearance would improve security and economy GOP wants to move fast on Sessions Senate Dems pan talk of short-term spending bill MORE (D-Vt.) said Grassley’s amendment “guts the core provisions” of the bipartisan bill.
The Senate-version of VAWA extends protections for victims of domestic violence to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims, Native Americans and immigrants.
Democrats, including President Obama, said they preferred the Senate bill because it would give tribal authorities jurisdiction over non-Indians in some domestic violence cases on tribal land, but Republicans say that issue has raised questions about possible constitutional rights violations of U.S. citizens.
“That provision raises serious constitutional questions,” Grassley said.
Grassley expressed concern that U.S. citizens living or working on tribal land would be subject to tribal courts if accused of domestic violence or rape and would have no way to appeal the tribal court decisions in the federal court system. He also said his amendment would have ensured that more money went to "victims and not bureaucrats" by requiring strict oversight into how the money is spent.
Republican Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSenators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump Cornyn: ‘Virtual certainty’ Sessions and Price will be confirmed Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything MORE (Maine), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteBattle brews over Trump’s foreign policy Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates NH voters hold Ayotte accountable for gun control votes MORE (N.H.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiPassing US-Canada preclearance would improve security and economy Overnight Energy: Dakota pipeline standoff heats up Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything MORE (Alaska), Mike CrapoMike CrapoEx-Im faces new problems with Trump GOP debates going big on tax reform Top Banking Dem pushes back on Trump Dodd-Frank 'dismantle' MORE (Idaho), Ted CruzTed CruzTrump could be the most significant president of our time Cruz: I'd rather have Trump talk to Taiwan than Cuba or Iran Lewandowski: Top Cruz aide advised Trump team before NH primary MORE (Texas), Marco RubioMarco RubioThe ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Graham to roll out extension of Obama immigration program Trump and Cuba: A murky future MORE (Fla.), Jerry MoranJerry MoranOvernight Tech: Bill protecting online reviews heads to Obama | New addition to FCC transition team | Record Cyber Monday Overnight Finance: Trump expected to pick Steven Mnuchin for Treasury | Budget chair up for grabs | Trump team gets deal on Carrier jobs Congress passes bill protecting online customer reviews MORE (Kan.), Rand PaulRand PaulGOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency The ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Rand Paul skeptical about Romney as secretary of State MORE (Ky.), Mike LeeMike LeeWill Trump back women’s museum? Overnight Cybersecurity: Lawmakers pushing for vote to delay warrant rule changes Coons to call for voice vote to halt changes to hacking rule MORE (Utah) and Mark KirkMark KirkBattle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate Women make little gains in new Congress MORE (Ill.) voted against Grassley's amendment.
The Senate bill also prohibits discrimination against LGBT citizens in grant programs to help victims, and would let some illegal immigrants stay in the country to receive help if they are victims of domestic violence or rape.
Both the House and Senate passed their own versions during the 112th Congress, but neither chamber took up the other's version. The House version didn't include provisions extending protections for victims of domestic violence to Native Americans, LGBT victims and immigrants.
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 income, so the grants can provide housing assistance and cellphones for victims. Under this reauthorization bill, these programs would continue for another five years.