Tensions over a long-stalled Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization spilled into public view on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinJane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council on Mental Wellbeing — Merck asks FDA to authorize five-day COVID-19 treatment Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE (D-Calif.) tried to get consent to vote on the House-passed VAWA bill by the end of the year, including allowing both sides to offer two amendments.
"This bill is not a Democratic bill. It's not a Republican bill. This bill is a survivors' bill. It's written with the help of survivors who know what's needed in the real world," Feinstein said ahead of making her request.
But Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstDemocrat Mike Franken launches challenge to Grassley in Iowa Trump heads to Iowa as 2024 chatter grows Photos of the Week: Manchin, California oil spill and a podium dog MORE (R-Iowa), who is introducing her own VAWA reauthorization, objected to setting up the vote on the bill, arguing that the House legislation could not pass the GOP-controlled Senate.
Democrats were quick to note that, under Feinstein's amendment, Republicans could have offered Ernst's version of the VAWA reauthorization as a substitute amendment — meaning that, if successful, it would become the bill that got a final vote in the Senate.
Under Feinstein's request, a vote on the House bill as well as any amendments would be held at a time agreed upon by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden's Supreme Court commission ends not with a bang but a whimper Hispanic organizations call for Latino climate justice in reconciliation Senate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act MORE (D-N.Y.).
"I think that by the end of the year, we should find something that will work to reauthorize this very, very important piece of legislation, and I appreciate your leadership on this very much and truly have enjoyed working with you," Ernst said.
The House passed its VAWA bill over objections from the National Rifle Association and Republicans, who opposed the legislation because of a provision that eliminated the so-called boyfriend loophole by expanding a current ban on firearm purchases for spouses or formerly married partners convicted of abuse or under a restraining order to include dating partners who were never legally married.
Feinstein and Ernst were tapped to work out a bipartisan Senate bill that could get the 60 votes needed to get through the chamber. But talks unraveled earlier this month. Senate Democrats introduced the House bill last week, and Ernst introduced her own bill on Wednesday.
Both Feinstein and Ernst appeared open, during the floor speeches on Wednesday, to trying to work out a bipartisan agreement by the end of the year.
But in addition to the gun-related provisions, Feinstein pointed to LGBT and tribal sovereignty provisions as two other sticking points for trying to work out a bipartisan deal.