March 1, 2013 — House lawmakers on Thursday passed the Senate version (S 47) of a Violence Against Women Act reauthorization by a 286-138 vote, sending the measure to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law, USA Today reports (Camia, USA Today, 2/28).
The bill authorizes $660 million annually over the next five years for victim advocacy groups and programs that prosecute sexual assault and domestic abuse cases and assist survivors. It also prohibits such organizations and programs from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and grants authority to tribal courts to hear cases involving non-Native Americans accused of assaulting Native American women on reservations (Helderman, Washington Post, 2/28).
After the vote, Obama in a statement said, "Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse," adding, "Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk."
Vice President Biden -- who authored the original VAWA in 1994 -- also praised the bill's passage, noting that domestic violence has fallen by 64% in the 18 years since the law was enacted (USA Today, 2/28).
The House vote came after members rejected a Republican amendment (H. Res. 83) that would have excluded the added protections for LGBT and Native American populations (Nocera, Politico, 2/28).
Eighty-seven Republicans voted in favor of the Senate bill, including all 15 whose districts voted for Obama in the November 2012 election (Bland, National Journal, 2/28). According to the Washington Post, their votes likely were part of an ongoing "effort by GOP leaders to improve their image among women after last year's poor election results" (Washington Post, 2/28).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership