Nine Congressmen — all male Republicans — voted Wednesday against a resolution to allow the U.S. House to consider re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The vast majority of House Republicans (214) and all 200 House Democrats voted for rule, which will allow votes Thursday on the watered-down GOP version of the bill and (assuming that fails), the bipartisan Senate plan.
The nine Republicans were Representatives Paul Broun (GA), Scott Garrett (NJ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Walter Jones (NC), Steve King (IA), Thomas Massie (KY), Tom McClintock (CA), and Matt Salmon (AZ).
Three of the nine — Gohmert, Jones, and King — voted for the watered-down Republican version of the bill last May, making their opposition to even bringing up the bill now a surprise. King said of the 2012 bill, “I supported VAWA in 2005 and am doing so again to see to it that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have access to the resources and protection when they need it the most.”
While apparently none of the opponents has released a statement on today’s vote, some explained their opposition to last year’s bill. Huelskamp, in a letter to constituents, noted that he does not believe the federal government has a role in funding protection against domestic abuse. “This is a matter that should be left to our states,” he wrote, and Congress “should not be in the business of handing out grants conditioned on how states do or do not prosecute criminals.”
McClintock, in explaining his 2012 vote against VAWA, argued: “This is a feel-good measure that uses ‘Violence Against Women’ as an excuse to vastly expand a dizzying array of government grant programs, hamstring judges who are attempting to resolve and reconcile highly volatile relationships, add $1.8 billion to the nation’s debt and generally insinuate the federal government into matters the Constitution clearly reserves to the states. Federal grants of all kinds (essentially gifts of public money with little or no oversight) are out of control and ought to be abolished — not expanded.”