House GOP caves on Violence Against Women Act

Leadership signalled that it will clear the way to pass the bipartisan Senate version of the bill

Topics: House Republicans, Violence Against Women Act, Eric Cantor, domestic violence, Native Americans, LGBT, Undocumented immigrants,

After proposing a non-starter version of the Violence Against Women Act, House Republicans are backing down and signaling that they will clear the way for a vote on the bipartisan Senate version of the bill, which includes expanded protections for LGBT women, Native Americans, and undocumented immigrants.

On Tuesday night, the House Rules Committee sent the House Republican version of the bill for a floor vote, where it is expected to fail. This version stripped out the expanded protections, but was soundly rejected by Democratic leadership. If it does fail, the Rules Committee said the Senate version will be taken up instead with an up-or-down vote.

As Sahil Kapur from TPM explains, there is a method to the maneuvering:

The big admission implicit in this latest move is that House GOP leaders don’t believe they have the votes to pass their version of the bill but that the Senate version is likely to pass the chamber. So this way they’ll give House conservatives the first bite at the apple as a way of saving face and still resolve an issue that has hurt them politically.

“We are on the cusp of a huge victory for every single woman who has been told over the past 16 months that they didn’t deserve VAWA protections,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, in a statement. “I applaud those moderate Republicans in the House who are ready to put politics aside and help us get this over the finish line.”

VAWA was allowed to expire in September, 2011 over the expanded protections, and House Republicans have blocked it repeatedly over the last year. The Senate passed its own version several weeks ago by a vote of 78-22, with 23 Republicans voting in favor of it.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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