The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed overwhelmingly in 1994, and was renewed easily in 2000 and 2005. But it suddenly became a partisan issue last month, when every Republican on the Judiciary Committee opposed it, and it passed in a 10 to 8 vote.
The act, estimated to have dramatically reduced domestic violence, funds a broad range of training programs and aid for victims. It expired last year, and Sen. Chuck Schumer argued that letting it lapse longer will hamper progress that has been made.
"Before it passed and I was the House sponsor in 1994, women would routinely show up at police stations, bloody and beaten, and the police officers, not having any training or any ability to do anything, would say it's a domestic dispute, go home and solve it," Schumer said. "It needs to be renewed. It's been very successful."
What were the objections from the Republicans with the new VAWA bill? Well, Democrats had added language that would extend protections to undocumented immigrants and LGBT victims of domestic violence, as well as allowing native American authorities to prosecute some non-native offenders.
Apparently, Republicans apparently think that violence against women immigrants, Indians, and lesbians is okay. Or rather, it appeals to their base.
It's an election year, and for some reason, Republicans really think they can win by enacting legislation that hurts women, and barring legislation that helps woman. Poll after poll tells them they are barking up the wrong tree, yet they keep it up.
Do they have a death wish?