With all the wrangling over measures to keep America from going over the fiscal cliff, another piece of legislation died quietly on Tuesday night: the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has expired, forcing supporters to start all over again to extend protections to more than half this country’s population.
Expansions to a Senate version of the act—which would have added provisions for Native American women, illegal immigrants, lesbians and trans women—were opposed by several key GOP lawmakers, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), the main advocate for VAWA re-authorization, attacked the GOP’s inaction in a statement:
“The House Republican leadership’s failure to take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. This is a bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate and that extends the bill’s protections to 30 million more women. But this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates. No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first.”
Frankly, we’re not exactly surprised the House leadership doesn’t have much consideration for women. Female voters voted Democrat on Election Day by a 12-point margin.