by Samantha Berkovits
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pushing for “bicameral negotiations” to finalize reauthorization of VAWA. But Senate Democrats want little to do with that idea, saying they will not support a pared back version on the once strongly bipartisan measure.
The Senate earlier this year passed reauthorization with some bipartisan support, but the House’s version differs greatly from Senate’s. The Senate reauthorization would strengthen services for victims of domestic violence as well as expand those services to a larger number of people.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a co-sponsor, of the VAWA reauthorization said in a July 31 statement that time is “running out to come together to pass” the measure, and blamed House Republicans for the embracing a reauthorization that “cuts back on protections for victims.”
In May when the House passed its reauthorization bill, Rep. John Conyers blasted his colleagues for embracing a reauthorization measure that would roll back existing services and fail “to protect some of the most vulnerable victims of violence.”
During a much different time “there were still certain issues that rose above the normal course of politics” Vice President Joe Biden lamented in a column for McClatchy.
“Protecting victims of domestic violence, an issue that has always enjoyed bipartisan support and should be well beyond debate has become the center of one in Congress. And women across the nation are now at risk,” he wrote.
Leahy added that Boehner’s announcement pushing for further negotiations was more disconcerting news, saying House leaders should do what they “refused to do for the last four months, which is to allow the House to take up and consider and vote on the Senate-passed bill.”