August 2, 2012 — Senate Republicans on Wednesday for the second time this year blocked an effort by Democrats to pass the Senate version (S 1925) of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports (Cox, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 8/1). Wednesday's action leaves Congress at a standstill on the measure just days before the August recess, according to Roll Call (Shiner, Roll Call, 8/1).
The House and Senate have been at an impasse over reauthorizing the law since they each approved different versions earlier this year. Unlike the House version (HR 4970), the Senate version contains provisions aimed at protecting Native American women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
One of the main roadblocks is that House leaders say the Senate version violates the constitutional requirement that all revenue-raising bills originate in the House, given that it contains a $30 fee associated with temporary visas for undocumented immigrants who are survivors of abuse. If Senate Democrats agree to a conference committee without approving a bill that complies with the constitutional requirement, they would be forced to concede the provision regarding undocumented immigrants (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/31).
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) rejected a request from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for a unanimous consent vote to eliminate the problem of Senate-originating bills that raise revenue. Murray said it was "stunning" that Grassley would object "to something we've done a number of times."
Grassley countered Murray by offering a unanimous consent measure for the Senate to adopt the House version of the reauthorization bill, to which Murray objected. Grassley criticized the move as "an issue of politics and not product."
Murray responded, "Frankly it is offensive to say that the issue of violence against women is about politics" ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 8/1).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, 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