Progress on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has ground to a halt despite the passage of competing bills in the House and Senate.
Democrats had once made the bill a top priority, but Senate leaders were unable to send their bill to the House because they found it violated the Constitution by raising revenue.
House Republicans say they’ve yet to see any substantive negotiations on the legislation and are waiting for the Senate to fix their bill. Senate leaders, on the other hand, want the House to take up their version, which passed with bipartisan support and had the backing of most advocacy groups.
Domestic violence is like child abuse – nobody is in favor of it. And rightly so. But that is what makes this dispute so dishonest and cynical.
First of all, domestic violence is not a federal offense. Neither are rape and murder. They are state crimes. Every state in the union has laws against domestic violence, rape, murder and child abuse. Every state vigorously prosecutes those crimes.
The original Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1994 and provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. That money goes out to the states. VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. It is up for renewal again. So what’s the problem?
The problem is this is not a simple renewal of an existing law. The Democrats in the Senate loaded up their version with stuff the GOP won’t agree to. The Democrats could easily cut a deal to pass key parts of the act. They don’t want to do that.
This is part of their “Republican War on Women” campaign theme. They care less about passing the act than they do about being able to say that the Republicans support domestic violence.
I’m not saying that the Violence Against Women Act is a bad thing. I’m just saying that the Democrats aren’t trying to pass it, they’re just trying to use it to get reelected.
If VAWA is not renewed, domestic violence will still be a crime.