House Set to Vote on Xenophobic, Homophobic Version of VAWA; Obama Threatens Veto
The Obama administration is making clear that the House version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, being voted on today, is unacceptable after House Republicans drafted their own, exclusionary, legislation rather than taking up the bipartisan Senate bill. It has been widely reported that the House bill, as it stands, would omit protections for Native American and LGBT victims of violence, and actually weaken existing protections for immigrants; the administration's statement of opposition points to still other groups that the Senate would protect and the House would not:
H.R. 4970 does not include important improvements to the Clery Act found in the Senate-passed bill that would address the high rates of dating violence and sexual assault experienced by young people in college and other higher education institutions. The bill also weakens critical new provisions in the Senate-passed bill that would improve safety for victims living in subsidized housing.
The Obama administration is calling on the House to embrace bipartisanship and pass the Senate bill rather than moving forward with the Violence Against Straight White Rich Women Act it plans to vote on today. Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the president, writes that:
Keeping women safe isn't about which political party you support—it's about protecting basic human rights. That's why President Obama applauds the Senators of both parties who came together to preserve and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act—and it is why the President's senior advisors, myself included, have recommended that he veto any bill that puts women in harm's way.
Planned Parenthood has also joined the National Organization for Women and other groups in condemning the House bill. Some reports say House Republicans plan amendments to address some of the concerns about their bill—but not all. Gay people would still be excluded, for instance. Whether those inadequate amendments even materialize remains in some question.
Tell your representatives to pass the expanded, bipartisan Senate reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, not the protection for a few but not for all House Republican bill.