Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyVA leaving navy veterans adrift in sea of Agent Orange Senate confirms first nominees of Trump era Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick 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 CollinsGOP rep faces testy crowd at constituent meeting over ObamaCare DeVos vows to be advocate for 'great' public schools GOP senators introducing ObamaCare replacement Monday MORE (Maine), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE (N.H.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Perry regrets saying he would abolish Energy Department Trump education pick to face Warren, Sanders MORE (Alaska), Mike CrapoMike CrapoLive coverage of Sessions confirmation hearing Senate rejects Paul's balanced budget Dems attack Trump SEC pick's ties to Wall Street MORE (Idaho), Ted CruzTed CruzTrump's America: Businessmen in, bureaucrats out When Trump says 'Make America Great Again,' he means it Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (Texas), Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Tillerson met with top State official: report MORE (Fla.), Jerry MoranJerry MoranOvernight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs Senate rejects Paul's balanced budget Republicans add three to Banking Committee MORE (Kan.), Rand PaulRand PaulDems blast Trump plans for deep spending cuts Trump team prepares dramatic cuts Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy MORE (Ky.), Mike LeeMike LeeBooker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy Right renews push for term limits as Trump takes power MORE (Utah) and Mark KirkMark KirkGOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal Republicans add three to Banking Committee Juan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama 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.