House votes to renew Violence Against Women Act with added gun reform NRA hates. Senate fight ahead
By a margin of 263-158, the House of Representatives voted to renew and upgrade the 25-year-old Violence Against Women Act Thursday and delivered a defeat to the National Rifle Association in the process. Now, as the bill heads to the Senate, we get to see if there is any hope for renewing the act given the opposition of obstructionist Republicans.
The act has provided more than $7 billion in grants to battered women’s shelters and other programs designed to help women, including stepped-up prosecution of cases of abuse. It was enacted in 1994 and has been renewed three times. In 2012, House Republicans fought hard against adding protections for LGBTQ people, American Indian women, and undocumented immigrants, but the law was reauthorized anyway. Now we’ll see whether the Senate will fight the law overall or just try to remove the reform that the gun lobby opposed. Li Zhou at Vox reports:
In the latest update, sponsored by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) — the sole Republican co-sponsor — Democrats are seeking to expand several tenets, like providing additional financial aid for women who’ve experienced domestic violence to stay in their homes and ramping up punishment for cyberbullying. But they also included one that’s drawn the ire of the NRA: banning all intimate partners who’ve been charged with abuse and stalking from purchasing a firearm. (Currently this ban only applies to a person if he or she was “married to, lived with, or have a child with the victim,” a Fortune report notes.)
“The gun control lobby and anti-gun politicians are intentionally politicizing the Violence Against Women Act as a smokescreen to push their gun control agenda,” NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker told NPR as part of an explanation for the organization’s opposition. The NRA has both urged House members to vote against the bill and said it would publish scores regarding lawmakers’ final votes on it.