The House is set to vote today on a watered-down version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that the President has threatened to veto for its lack of coverage, particularly in regards to undocumented people, native women, and the LGBT community.
But while Republicans have accused the Democrats of playing politics with women’s domestic safety, the opposite may actually be true.
In a sit-down with bloggers on Capitol Hill today, DNC Chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told reporters that she’d heard House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) actually ordered his caucus to move VAWA as far to the right as possible:
RYAN GRIM of the Huffington Post: I’d heard that the Republican leadership wasn’t very happy with the committee for going how far right they went with this. Had you heard anything that–
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Actually, I’d heard that this was a direct directive from John Boehner himself. So…
GRIM: What’s the thinking in that?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, I think their obsession with opposing immigration at every possible turn has permeated every single possible bill, including things that are normally as mom and apple pie as reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
VAWA has been passed and reauthorized twice with strong bipartisan support. Each reauthorization has expanded the bill and added new provisions. This year, the Senate passed VAWA in a 68 to 31 vote, after some debate, with the added provisions intact to protect LGBT, undocumented, and Native people. The House version of VAWA does not include these protections.
And while Republicans may have rectified the portion of their original bill that violated the confidentiality of victims by adding a manager’s amendment, the bill still seriously weakens the visa program extended to undocumented victims of domestic abuse, so that they are put in a position of fear in reporting assault.