House GOP Blocks Violence Against Women Act

VAWA_HomepageContinuing their fine tradition of doing fuck-all to help the American people, the House GOP blocked the Violence Against Women Act. Why? Because they’re assholes. That’s the long and short of it.

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]

41 replies
  1. 1
    Culture of Truth says:

    Both sides are equally to blame.

  2. 2

    Continuing their fine tradition of doing fuck-all to help the American people, the House GOP blocked the Violence Against Women Act. Why? Because they’re assholes. That’s the long and short of it.

    The Teabaggers were all for it until their literate member read the thing and realized that it was intended to prevent, rather than authorize, violence against women.

  3. 3
    Tone in DC says:

    Thanks for this.

    Cantor and other refugees from beneath the bridge really are letting their freak flag fly. At this rate, there will be a Brooks Brothers riot in the Capitol building, stat.

  4. 4
    scav says:

    The recent fatal rape in India is spurring gun sales, so is there any wonder the political arm of the NRA acts as it does?

  5. 5
    Ash Can says:

    I could snark that Cantor is just punishing women for voting for Democrats, but I’m not sure it would actually be snark.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    Bitches need to do as they’re told. Men aren’t responsible for what happens when they’re just keepin’ uppity bitches in line.

  7. 7

    These guys, neither the politicians or their voters, are not dealing well with losing. I don’t know how long it’ll be, but I fear there’s going to be shooting sooner or later. I mean, hell, the wingnuts were freaking out and ready to riot and talking about waging war on liberals after the 2004 election, and they won that one. They always talk about how the Democrats are the ones to be scared of–well, the darkies, anyway–but, shit, whenever some fuckup goes on a rampage, it’s never a black dude. Every time, it’s some white trash loser wingnut. If and when the “revolution” they’re always warning about ever comes, it’ll be the wingnuts holding the guns.

  8. 8
    quannlace says:

    More like how dare those uppity Native American courts tell real American men what they can or can’t do.

  9. 9
    WereBear says:

    We do indeed more mental health services in this country; and we can start with the wingnuts.

  10. 10
    Chyron HR says:

    I didn’t bother to read the post, but as a True Progressive I blame Obama for whatever it is we’re talking about.

  11. 11
    Jay C says:


    More like how dare those uppity Native American courts tell real American men what they can or can’t do.

    Word. IIJM, or do the “Tribal Courts” objections against the VAWA just seem like one of those “reeking of racism” dodges that its opponents just want to elide? I’m sure there may be some legitimate objections to the jurisdictional provisions, but the whole affair just seems to be mainly a smokescreen, and that the main objection is to letting Red Men sit in judgement on White Men; regardless of circumstances.

  12. 12
    Morzer says:

    And Republicans tell us that they aren’t racist. Because, you know, Allen West and Sarah Palin married a half-blood prince also too.

  13. 13
    Mike G says:

    Women don’t have gobs of money they are willing to give to the Confederacy Party. People who hate women do.

    Throw in their natural tendency to be assholes siding with bullies against the less-powerful, and it’s an easy decision for them.

  14. 14
    nellcote says:

    Cantor doesn’t want to see white men prosecuted for sexually assaulting Native women. It’s just that simple.

  15. 15
    burnspbesq says:

    I have no idea what to make of this.

    Kansas Tries to Make Sperm Donor Pay Child Support

  16. 16
    Christian says:

    I’m curious. Where did the VAWA die? I can’t find a single source that identifies the time or location of death, and not much on the manner. Was there an actual vote against it, or did a committee not bring it to the floor?

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yet another mess created by some states’s ridiculous opposition to gay marriage. If the lesbian couple had been married, then the co-parent would be responsible for child support. Since they never had that legal recognition, that co-parent gets off scott-free and the state starts thrashing around to find another responsible party.

    It’s a pretty effed-up situation since the person who wanted the child is now abdicating her responsibilities and the person who just donated the genetic code is getting stuck with the bill.

  18. 18
    kathy a. says:

    @Jay C: i just really do not get this. the alternative to tribal courts is for the feds to come in, which isn’t usually a GOP talking point. (of course, waiting for the feds to come, if they do, might mean like waiting forever.)

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    @burnspbesq: @Mnemosyne: Agree about the same sex marriage issue, but it’s also stupid of the guy not to have looked into the state law to find out how to become a sperm donor and not be held responsible later. At the very least, he should have insisted on a legal document looked over by a lawyer specializing in third-party reproduction. That lawyer would have known the law.

    The law is stupid because it’s crafted to cost people money by forcing them to get doctors involved. Yet another financial burden on people who can’t get pregnant by having sex or who don’t have a partner, whether that’s gay and lesbian couples or people who suffer from fertility issues or single people. It’s a moneymaker for fertility doctors, who is ridiculously expensive to begin with, and a big strain on the people wanting to get pregnant.

  20. 20


    Yet another mess created by some states’s ridiculous opposition to gay marriage.

    Or, in wingnutistan, it’s proof that teh ghey should never have been allowed to reproduce in the first place, and if they somehow did, their baby should have been taken away and given to a responsible married white couple who wanted a baby.

  21. 21
    RaflW says:

    Now, Mother Jones says the Drywall Safety Act is important (and given the toxic Chinese drywall issue a while back, that’s probably so).

    But any claim that Congress was too busy for VAWA or Sandy is bullshit since they managed to take care of that important law-a-neering. The House GOP caucus are just the most ideological and awful critters to occupy the chamber in living memory. Period.

  22. 22


    But any claim that Congress was too busy for VAWA or Sandy is bullshit

    Not at all. Being assholes is a full time occupation for these people, and doesn’t leave them with much time to do stuff like legislate.

  23. 23
    RaflW says:

    @Jay C:


    Or, anyway, Tribal Courts are sovereign and anything that gives even the slightest nod to Native Americans having independence of action makes wingnuts go, erm, nuts.

    So, as I say*, allowing Tribal Courts any authoritah whatsoever will instantly mean that Sharia will overtake Oklahoma.


    *ETA I’m absolutely unqualified to say the above. But say it anyway, in proud BJ commenter traditions.

  24. 24

    If women just had guns, the VAWA would be unneeded.

  25. 25
    AkaDad says:

    And I always thought that the “lady channel” was Lifetime TV.

  26. 26
    r€nato says:

    shorter House GOP: fuck those twats, they didn’t vote for us anyway. Also, too, there’s no Republican war on women you commie fags.

  27. 27
    mdblanche says:

    Am I to assume that this is part of the reaching out to the womens and the browns that the Republicans said they were going to do after the election?

  28. 28
    MacKenna says:

    Because every woman out there relishes being assaulted and murdered… yep. Those Teabaggers really know what women want.

  29. 29

    @Mike G:
    I think this is huge. It’s not like the VAWA is a big issue for the GOP, but right now the party is being driven by meanspirited people, abusers and narcissists. That’s the voters. The congressmen used to be betting on their primary voters feeling vaguely guilty about denying women protection. Now they’re betting their primary voters will get a gut feeling of satisfaction out of seeing anyone, maybe even themselves, rendered more vulnerable to be hurt. Plus, a rather large number of their representatives are now the kind of mindless ‘She had it coming’ kind of abusive personality they’re sucking up to. Thanks to Palin, they realized they could elect themselves.

  30. 30
    Michael G says:

    You would think that even if they hated it they would vote for the bill for the optics.

    This is a vote to send a message: We don’t give a fuck.

  31. 31
    aimai says:


    Seems quite straightforward to me, and I’m not even posing as a lawyer. Social fatherhood, financial fatherhood, and biological fatherhood are always social constructs and hedged about by law. In this case the law holds that you can’t sever social/legal fatherhood from the person of the sperm donor because the sperm did not pass through the hands of a legal medical professional. The state is seeking to recoup the costs associated with the child, given that the mother threw herself and her child on the mercy of the state for social services and financial aid, and is going after the sperm donor.


  32. 32
    aimai says:


    I don’t think this has anything to do with gay marriage–it has to do with preventing men from pretending they were just sperm donors and avoiding responsibilities to the resulting child. In addition It is far from clear that a cohabiting/not married heterosexual couple would have had the male half responsible for the child’s upkeep if the child were the product of another sexual liason/sperm donation. Actually the courts deal with this kind of thing all the time and the state will go after the biological father over the woman’s current boyfriend every time.


  33. 33
    burnspbesq says:


    If that’s the law, then Dickens was right. That’s the gaddam stupidest law I’ve ever heard of … and I deal with the Internal Revenue Code on a daily basis.

  34. 34
    aimai says:

    Well, sure the law is an ass.

    But, that being said, here’s a relevant portion of the Men’sRights Code of lunacy (I found it over at the wonderful Man Boobz blog site where they parody all things MRA:



  35. 35
    aimai says:

    Actually, though I realize this is OT for the VAWA issue, the law makes a lot of sense-as much sense as arguing that a lawyer’s intervention was necessary. Up until now the DNA test/sperm matching was the only proof in the pudding, as it were, to assign paternal responsibilities for the costs of raising a child. Artificial insemination, IVF, gay men choosing surrogates, infertile couples purchasing sperm and eggs, have all made this a very complicated area ripe for all kinds of legal intervention. Having the law draw the line between one set of acts and another is nothing new–having it arbitrarily assign paternal responsibility, or maternal, to a person who later says they did not intend the plain meaning of the act (to produce a child) is also nothing new.


  36. 36
    Jay C says:


    Though in essence you’re right, as usual (IMO, IANAL) the problem is that laws concerning “reproductive rights” vary so wildly from state to state, what’s a simple delineation of rights in one state may be a hugely complicated matter with uncertain rights and responsibilities/liabilities in another. Sad to say, it’s just yet another issue in our lives today where “get a lawyer” is an unfortunate necessity…

    Anectdotal evidence (with a fortunately happy ending): our best friends’ son and his wife (BFS & DIL) wanted a child, but DIL developed (?uterine?) cancer, and needed extensive chemo. This, she was told, would permanently preclude her ever bearing children – so they “conceived” eleven (!) embryos via IVF using their own sperm & eggs – and froze them for future reference. Which happened last year: when they finally felt they could afford a kid: and so hired a surrogate to carry their child: in Connecticut – since this was the nearest state (BFS & DIL live in Boston) with reasonably liberal surrogacy laws. Bottom line: Junior – a healthy 10.4 lb, 22-in boy – missed being a “New Years’ Baby” by 20 minutes last nite: and is soon going home with his (biological) parents: all legal “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed: to folks glad to have him, and grateful that they live in a “blue” region.

    Modern life…..

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    @Jay C:

    Absolutely–I did not mean a lawyer should not be involved, but that arguing that a doctor/medical professional shouldn’t be involved was absurd. The state in Burnspesque’s original post is wrestling with a grey area in its local law and in federal law (because I’m sure some of the monies were federal). Its no more arbitrary to have a law that states that a medical professional must be used in handing over the sperm than to demand that a written document be drawn up legally and witnessed before the rights can be fully understood and distributed.

    Both kinds of professionals may be needed to demarcate rights and duties in this new world. Some people I “know” on the internet recently adopted a baby girl at birth–the baby was “born for them” but they did not know that the baby had downs syndrome. They went through with the adoption but what if they had decided against it? To whom would that child have belonged? All depends on the region/state/history with IVF, adoption, etc…etc…etc…

  38. 38
    hells littlest angel says:

    “Eric Cantor and his bumbling manservant John Boehner”

    That’s a keeper. Although only until 2014, I hope.

  39. 39
    Jay C says:


    OK: for some unknown reason, I hadn’t been able to follow burnspbesq’s link to the Kansas sperm-donor case til just now, so I hadn’t seen the whole article. Now that I have, I see that you’re still right (as usual) – but (again, IANAL disclaimer), this poor slob seems like he’s legally screwed wrt to the support. If Kansas law only allows abrogation of paternal right/responsibilities if a physician is involved – and he/they didn’t do it – and/or make sure the legal documentation was airtight (to me the red flag – with flashing lights and siren – was the phrase “contacted through the Internet“) it’s hard to see where – unjust as it may seem – he has much of a case.

    One would, of course, like to see some sort of national legal uniformity in these matters, but given this country’s persistent insistence on “States’ Rights” (good or bad), it’s seems unfortunately unlike to happen.

  40. 40
    Patricia Kayden says:

    VAWA blocked. Nation shrugs. Is anyone outraged about this? Doesn’t feel like it. Dems should harp on this day in and day out to shame the Rethugs into doing the right thing, but I doubt that will happen.

  41. 41
    Don says:

    One has to wonder what, exactly, doctor involvement has to do with this poor schlub’s legal responsibility. Would the magic physician touch protected that family from breaking up? Did the turkey baster infect them with familial discontent?

    I dislike the go-to complaint of rent-seeking when the subject of government regulation comes up but it’s hard to see how using a physician intermediary for sperm donation guarantees anything but higher medical costs. Only one group seems to directly benefit from that.

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