Thursday morning’s House passage of the reauthorization of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act sent the bill to President Obama on a 286-138 vote.
Idaho’s GOP congressmen split. Second District Rep. Mike Simpson voted for Senate Bill 47, while 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voted no.
Republicans first tried to pass a House version of the bill Thursday, which Democrats complained had insufficient protection for gay couples, immigrants and Native Americans. That measure, by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., failed 166 to 257, with Labrador backing the amendment and Simpson opposed.
On Feb. 12, Idaho’s GOP senators also were divided on the five-year reauthorization. Sen. Mike Crapo, the lead GOP sponsor, was in the majority of a 78-22 vote. Sen. Jim Risch voted no.
Crapo spoke on the Senate floor after the House vote, saying, “Stemming the rising tide of domestic violence in Idaho and the nation is critical, and I am glad to see there are areas where Congress can come together and support this important cause.”
Vice President Joe Biden, who authored the original law aimed and curbing domestic violence, issued a statement Thursday morning thanking five key lawmakers for their support: Crapo and four Democrats, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin.
Biden’s statement follows:
Today Congress put politics aside and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Eighteen years ago, I envisioned a world where women could live free from violence and abuse. Since VAWA first passed in 1994, we have seen a 64% reduction in domestic violence. I am pleased that this progress will continue, with new tools for cops and prosecutors to hold abusers and rapists accountable, and more support for all victims of these crimes.
The urgent need for this bill cannot be more obvious. Consider just one fact—that 40% of all mass shootings started with the murderer targeting their girlfriend, or their wife, or their ex-wife. Among many other important provisions, the new VAWA will increase the use of proven models of reducing domestic violence homicides.
This morning I met with several parents whose beautiful young daughters were killed by abusive boyfriends. Nothing puts this legislation in to perspective more than their stories. This issue should be beyond politics—and I want to thank the leaders from both parties—Patrick Leahy, Mike Crapo, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Gwen Moore—and the bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate who have made that clear once again.
Crapo’s news release, issued shortly after noon Thursday:
CRAPO HAILS PASSAGE OF VAWA
Legislation to reauthorize critical act now goes to White House
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 286-138 to pass the Senate’s bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), of which Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are sponsors.
The legislation, which passed the Senate 78-22, now goes to the White House for signature. Crapo took to the Senate Floor to laud passage of the bill:
“I am honored to have worked on this bill with Senator Leahy, and my colleagues here in the Senate,” Crapo said. “I commend advocates across the nation, specifically the leadership and members of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, who have worked tirelessly on this issue. Stemming the rising tide of domestic violence in Idaho and the nation is critical, and I am glad to see there are areas where Congress can come together and support this important cause.”
The Senate measure renews VAWA for another five years, and includes vital protections for all victims of domestic and sexual violence. The bill will significantly strengthen the ability of the federal government, the states, law enforcement, and service providers to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.