Vice President Biden on Thursday called House Republicans “Neanderthals” for initially opposing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)."
“I'm going to say something outrageous," Biden said at a party at his home in Washington to celebrate the 19th anniversary of VAWA, according to a media pool report.
“I think I understand the Senate better than any man or women who's ever served in there, and I think I understand the House. ... I was surprised this last time ... The idea we still had to fight? We had to fight to reauthorize [VAWA]?”
Biden then blamed “this sort of Neanderthal crowd” in the House for initially opposing the legislation.
“Did you ever think we'd be fighting over, you know, 17, 18 years later to reauthorize this?” he asked.
In February, the House approved a bipartisan Senate bill to reauthorize VAWA, which aims to protect women from domestic violence.
In prior years, the law had been quickly reauthorized, but Republicans in the previous Congress opposed the Senate bill and put up a yearlong fight against it.
One of the primary sticking points for Republicans was an aspect of the bill that would expand access to certain visas for noncitizens who are victims of domestic violence. That portion of the law was removed from the final bill, and after a difficult election cycle in which Republicans were hurt by a significant gender gap, the new Congress overwhelmingly voted in favor of reauthorization.