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“So Many Hard Decisions”: House Republicans Eye Violence Against Women Act Changes

Among Congress’ many other looming deadlines, the Violence Against Women Act is still waiting for reauthorization. It easily passed the Senate with bipartisan support in April, but House Republicans insist the current version is too supportive of immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans.

Is there any chance policymakers can work something out? One of the original VAWA authors from 1994 is now the nation’s vice president, and he’s working behind the scenes to work out a deal.

Vice President Joe Biden is quietly working with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to try to pass an inclusive version of the Violence Against Women Act in the lame-duck Congress. And so far, sources tell HuffPost, Cantor is on board as long as one thing is stripped from the bill: a key protection for Native American women.

Staffers for Biden and Cantor have been trying to reach a deal on the bill for at least a week. Neither camp publicly let on it was talking to the other until Wednesday, when Cantor said the two are in negotiations and he’s feeling hopeful about a deal.

For nearly two decades, VAWA reauthorization was effortless — even the most far-right members didn’t want to be seen opposing resources for state and local governments to combat domestic violence. But as Republicans move further and further to the right, congressional support for the law has grown difficult in ways few could have imagined.

In this case, Cantor is willing to bend on LGBT and immigrant provisions, but he wants Democrats to scrap protections for Native American women. According to the Huffington Post, the Democratic provision gives tribal courts limited jurisdiction to oversee domestic violence offenses committed against Native American women by non-Native American men on tribal lands, and the House Republican leader wants this expansion curtailed.

We’ll know soon enough whether an agreement is possible in the limited time remaining, but in the meantime, GOP officials should probably hope Dana Perino isn’t the leading conservative voice when it comes to domestic violence.

Indeed, it’s astonishing that a Republican media figure would say this out loud on national television.

Appearing on Fox News Wednesday evening, Dana Perino suggested female victims of violence should “make better decisions” in order to escape harm.

Media Matters has the video.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, December 7, 2012

December 8, 2012 - Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , ,

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