If you want to read a good post detailing the assholery, asiangrrlMN’s post “Native American Women Matter, Too. Pass the Damn #VAWA, House Republicans!” and @Katie_Speak’s guest-post “One in Four Women” are two excellent places to start, but in brief it boils down to this:
The Clown Caucus led by Eric Cantor and his bumbling manservant John Boehner don’t want to give courts limited jurisdiction to oversee acts of domestic violence committed by non-Native American men against Native American women. At first, they didn’t want to extend protection to immigrants or LGBT folks either, but Cantor claimed he’d be willing to bend on his claim that the bill was too supportive of immigrants and the gays, but he was unwilling to extend protection to Native American women.
And now after dicking around with the fiscal cliff deal for two months, and failing to pass a bill for Hurricane Sandy relief funding, House Republicans have made it more difficult for state and federal government organizations to combat domestic violence.
Congress had a lengthy to-do list as the end of the year approached, with a series of measures that needed action before 2013 began. Some of the items passed (a fiscal agreement, a temporary farm bill), while others didn’t (relief funding for victims of Hurricane Sandy).
And then there’s the Violence Against Women Act, which was supposed to be one of the year’s easy ones. It wasn’t.
Back in April, the Senate approved VAWA reauthorization fairly easily, with a 68 to 31 vote. The bill was co-written by a liberal Democrat (Vermont’s Pat Leahy) and a conservative Republican (Idaho’s Mike Crapo), and seemed on track to be reauthorized without much of a fuss, just as it was in 2000 and 2005.
But House Republicans insisted the bill is too supportive of immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans — and they’d rather let the law expire than approve a slightly expanded proposal. Vice President Biden, who helped write the original law, tried to persuade House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to keep the law alive, but the efforts didn’t go anywhere.
So, hooray, America! For the first time since 1994, there’s no Violence Against Women Act in place and you can thank the GOP. What used to be the routine passage of a bill loved by everyone — even far right lunatics who, if given the opportunity, would gladly shove a transvaginal ultrasound wand up your lady channel — became another spectacular GOP fail.
[cross-posted at ABLC]