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Women Take the House

The embattled Violence Against Women Act finally breaks through the Republican stonewall

by Erin Pihlaja on March 6, 2013

The expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act finally got approval from the U.S. House of Reprresentatives on Feb. 28, after it stalled at the very beginning of the year and failed to be renewed for the first time since its passage in 1994.

Lisa Frisch, executive director of the Legal Project in Albany, told Metroland in January [“A Blow to Women,” Newsfront, Jan. 10] that the Senate had included provisions in the act that “increased safety and accessibility to Native Americans, immigrants, LGBT people, college campuses and communities of color.” Many House Republicans balked at the expanded bill and voted “no” for authorization of the updated version, upsetting many people and organizations both nationally and locally.

Karen Ziegler, director of the Albany County Criminal Victims and Sexual Violence Center, said in Metroland’s January article, “I’d have to say that pretty much anyone who provides services for most domestic violence or rape crisis programs receives VAWA funding. Most of us will be affected by lack of funding if VAWA doesn’t get passed and quickly.”

The GOP’s stripped-down version of the bill failed to pass in the House, and the Senate’s version passed with a vote of 286-138 after 87 Republicans joined 199 Democrats to support it. It will now go to President Obama, who has expressed his intention to sign it into law.