Friday, April 27, 2012

Republicans v. The "Violence Against Women Act"

On April 26th, 2012 the Senate voted on S. 1925: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (also referred to as the “Violence Against Women Act” or “VAWA”), and not surprisingly it passed.  However as I reviewed the vote count I was a bit surprised to see the number of “nay” votes, 31 votes against.  So I went over to my favorite congressional tracking site, and after a quick search, I found a very obvious trend to ALL the NAY votes on the “VAWA” legislation. See if you can pick it out.
List of “NAY” votes on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): :
(R) Senator Jeff Sessions – AL
(R) Senator Richard Shelby – AL
(R) Senator John Boozman – AR
(R) Senator Jon Kyl – AZ
*(R) Senator Marco Rubio – FL
(R) Senator Saxby Chambliss – GA
(R) Senator John Isakson – GA
(R) Senator Charles Grassley – IA
(R) Senator James Risch – ID
(R) Senator Richard Lugar – IN
(R) Senator Jerry Moran – KS
(R) Senator Pat Roberts – KS
*(R) Senator Mitch McConnell – KY
(R) Senator Rand Paul – KY
(R) Senator Roy Blunt – MO
(R) Senator Thad Cochran – MS
(R) Senator Roger Wicker – MS
(R) Senator Richard Burr – NC
(R) Senator Mike Johanns – NE
(R) Senator Thomas Coburn – OK
(R) Senator James Inhofe – OK
(R) Senator Patrick Toomey – PA
(R) Senator Jim Demint – SC
(R) Senator Lindsey Graham – SC
(R) Senator John Thune - SD
(R) Senator John Coryn – TX
(R) Senator Orrin Hatch – UT
(R) Senator Mike Lee – UT
(R) Senator Ron Johnson – WI
(R) Senator John Barrasso – WY
(R) Senator Michael Enzi – WY

Yes ALL 31 “NAY” votes were from Republicans.  So...why? What is in this version of the Violence Against Women Act/VAWA” that Republicans are objecting to?  For the answer to that question we need to look at the version Republicans will put forward, and see which “objectionable” provisions have been striped out.  Now, since the final Republican bill has not been released yet I can not say for certain, however multiple media outlets are reporting three provisions which led to Republican opposition to the current "VAWA" legislation: 
·         Increased number of temporary visas for undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, that number would rise from 10,000 to 15,000. 
·         New language which extends protections specifically to members of the LGBT community
·         New provision which allows for the prosecution of NON-Indian individuals who abuse women on tribal reservations. 
Now for those who are unaware of the size and scope of the problem we face in violence against women, let me drop some statistics on you.  In the United States during 2010 there were an estimated 84,767 forcible rapes according to FBI statistics ( ). That is 232 forcible rapes per day, and those numbers only reflected the REPORTED rapes.  Research shows numbers as high as 75-95 percent of rape crimes never get reported (   So in reality you can easily double those rape totals.  Furthermore those are just the rape totals, those numbers do not include other sexual assaults or domestic violence incidents.  Want another eye opening statistic? Domestic violence, statistically, is the NUMBER ONE reason why women go the emergency room.  Yeah America has a problem. 
Ok so the problem is big, but how does the Violence Against Women Act” help?  The Violence Against Women Act provides programs and services such as:
  • Community violence prevention programs
  • Protections for victims who are evicted from their homes because of events related to domestic violence or stalking
  • Funding for victim assistance services, like rape crisis centers and hotlines
  • Programs to meet the needs of immigrant women and women of different races or ethnicities
  • Programs and services for victims with disabilities
  • Legal aid for survivors of violence
I am disappointed in the Senate Republicans who voted against this legislation but thankful there were some Senate Republicans who vote “aye”.   As far as politics goes, this vote is not going help Republicans reach out to women voters.  The same women voters who may already be wary of a Republican party which has sought repeated legislation aimed at repealing individual reproductive rights. 

Do you think this vote will hurt Republicans who are trying to win back women voters? 


  1. If you want to spend even more time understanding why these republicans voted NAY on this REAUTHORIZATION of legislation that has been widely bi-partisan for decades, read their own explanation. I only read part of it, so cut me some slack.

    It may be that 1 or more of these 31 are not nearly as esteeming of women as they should be. There's probably a few abusers on the left too. But generally speaking, these republicans are not against the VAWA itself, just this particular REAUTHORIZATION. Your post reads very much in the same vein as those on the extreme left OR right who assume what could be the most simple underlying motive and then conclude it must be true. As if they are all obviously wife beaters who are clueless about all the good that VAWA has done and are ACTUALLY against protecting women. Do you really think these Republicans are blind to the stats you've quoted or that they deny there is a problem in our country? Come on bro! If you you're going to be independent, be independent.

    I'm not saying the Republican perspective isn't often extremely imperfect but since this is the way the media frames the NAY votes (Republicans are obviously warring on Women), I would concur, this could hurt Republicans if they're depending on this alone to win "back" women voters.

    See you in the morning and we're not talking politics at Bible Study!

    1. Thank you Clark for you the link, I did want to understand “why” Republicans would vote against this bill and their objections are noted in the link…don’t worry I read the WHOLE THING so I will break it all down…LOL.

      However first let me address your comments regarding how my post “read” to you. My post was not saying that Republicans are in objection to VAWA legislation. In fact in my blog post I say…

      “What is in this version of the “Violence Against Women Act/VAWA” that Republicans are objecting to?”

      I go on to say that I do not know for certain WHY the 31 Republican voted “nay” on this legislation, however I did read from multiple news sites that Republicans were objecting to specific items in the new authorization which I then list. Now that I have read the link you provided I can say that the list I provided was accurate but not complete. Republicans have additional problems with the “VAWA” legislation besides the ones I provided originally in my blog post, I will expand on that in a moment. But first, being an independent voter means I am not affiliated with one party or another. Being an independent does NOT mean my political views are always middle of the road, split between Republican and Democratic ideas. Some issues I agree with Republicans (fewer and fewer of late due to the Republican party going insane) and some issues I will agree with Democrats, other times both parties will get in wrong in my opinion. Being an independent voter doesn’t mean my views will never be “extreme” it simply means that I do not claim either party as my banner...(to be continued)

    2. ...(continued) part 2

      Now, to the link you provided. As I alluded to earlier the list I provided of reasons why some Republicans voted against this VAWA legislation was accurate but not complete. First the 3 “objectionable” provisions I provided.

      1. “Increased number of temporary visas for undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, that number would rise from 10,000 to 15,000.”

      - Yes Republicans are opposed to this provision (see pages 45-47). Republicans site Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA) in the system and seek multiple verification steps before temporary visas are issued. Steps such as written medical documentation of “substantial” physical or mental abuse, a statute of limitations for reporting abuse, the abuse must be under criminal investigation etc. Some good some not so good, but the link does NOT reference whether not Republicans support increasing the number from 10,000 to 15,000.

      2. “New language which extends protections specifically to members of the LGBT community”

      - Yes Republicans are opposed to this provision (see pages 39-40). Republicans site a lack of evidence that specific protections are needed to the LGBT community. Republicans claim that more studies should be done to determine if discrimination is happening before legislation is enacted to stop it. (That’s interesting. Yes lets make sure some violence victims are denied service first before we act…lets not be proactive or anything. This same tactic of calling for more research and studies to done was used to stall the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”). Republicans also claim that this provision will lead to discrimination lawsuits which will cost more money. This same excuse was used to vote against the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act“which helps ensure equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. These are weak excuses.

      3. “New provision which allows for the prosecution of NON-Indian individuals who abuse women on tribal reservations.”

      - Yes Republicans are opposed to this provision (see pages 37-39). Republicans site multiple reasons why Tribal Courts should not have authority to prosecute NON-Indians, from questioning the ability of tribal authority to handle the legal proceeding, to not having adequate “expertise” (a bit insulting to tribal authority). Republicans, seemingly, do not want to respect the idea that if a crime occurs on tribal land, that tribal authority has the right to pursue legal accountability.

    3. ...(contined) Part 3

      Now those three provisions are what I laid out in my original post however after reading the link there is an additional “objection” that Republicans are making about this VAWA legislation.

      4. Republicans want to cut funding from the “Violence Against Women Act”

      (see page 43) “…the Grassley substitute would reauthorize all key VAWA programs, including the new consolidated grant programs that S. 1925 would create, while reducing the authorization amount to recognize the current fiscal environment. The Grassley substitute would fund VAWA programs at $484.5 million over the 5 year period…”

      - Now Republicans say that the VAWA program only used about $500 million last year so authorizing the bill for $682.5M is unnecessary and would thus justify a slight funding cut to $484.5M (about a $15M cut, that work about to about a 3% funding cut) . HOWEVER, given the new provisions that were added to this bill it’s only logical that this bill would need additional funds to function appropriately.

      In closing, I do agree with the new provisions democrats are attempting to add to the “VAWA” legislation and I believe that some of the “objections” of Republicans can be included into the legislation to make it better overall. HOWEVER I stated in my original post, we have to wait for what Republicans actually put forward in their bill to see where their position is regarding this legislation. As I told you before… ALL POLTICIANS LIE… so while this link may provide some insight into why Republicans are claiming they voted “NAY”, the real test will be seen in the bill the Republicans put forward. Will they include the provisions along with their “solutions” or will they simply eliminate the new provision altogether?