House GOP Leaders Offer Changes to Anti-violence Act

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 01:16 PM

By Dan Weil

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The House Republican leadership is trying to make changes in the Violence Against Women Act to both gain the support of women’s groups and ensure passage of the bill.

Last weekend, the leadership drafted amendments designed to eliminate the groups’ concerns that immigrant and Native American women weren’t protected under the original GOP version of the act’s re-authorization, Politico reports. The House is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday.

House GOP leaders quietly conferred with major women’s groups, such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, to learn how to gain their backing. Clearly Republicans don’t want to enable Democrats to paint them as anti-women in the election campaign.

But the amendments offered by the House leadership are unlikely to gain the backing of women’s groups, according to Politico. The amendments don’t appear to strengthen language concerning abuse in same-sex relationships as the organizations sought, sources told Politico.

“Unless I see really a decent set of amendments to the [House Republican bill], the vote on the floor for House bill 4970 is a vote against the Violence Against Women Act and will be scored by this organization,” NOW President Terry O’Neill told Politico. Scoring refers to the group’s rankings of members of Congress based on major votes.

It’s unclear how much support there is for the main Republican bill. Before the amendment package was announced, seven House Republicans wrote to Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, recommending a bipartisan bill.


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