Senate has the votes to pass Violence Against Women Act

Seven Republicans say they will support the latest version of the bill

By Jillian Rayfield

Published February 1, 2013 8:19PM (EST)


Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Friday that the Senate has enough votes to pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, with the Senate to begin consideration of the law next week.

Leahy tweeted:

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In a statement, Leahy said: “I am pleased the Senate will next week turn its focus to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.  The Leahy-Crapo VAWA bill seeks to protect all victims of domestic and sexual violence, including tribal women, immigrants, college students, and members of the LGBT community.”

Along with 53 Senate Democrats, seven Republicans have also committed to supporting the bill's reauthorization, giving it the 60 votes it needs to break a potential Republican filibuster. Those Republicans include Mike Crapo, Idaho, who co-sponsored the bill with Leahy, along with Kelly Ayotte, N.H., Susan Collins, Maine, Dean Heller, Nev., Mark Kirk, Ill., Jerry Moran, Kan., and Lisa Murkowski, Alaska.

VAWA stalled and expired for the first time ever in September, 2011, and over the course of last year House Republicans blocked it from passing several times. The Senate's latest version of the VAWA carves out protections for LGBT women, undocumented immigrants, and Native American women, and strips out a provision that House Republicans used as a way to mount procedural objections to the bill last time around.

So far there's been mostly silence from House Republicans on whether or not they'll take it up after the Senate, but reportedly Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who chairs the House Republican Conference, is a potential leader on the issue.

“The House is continuing to work with VAWA advocates on the best path forward to ensure we protect women and prosecutor offenders,” a House GOP leadership aide told Sahil Kapur from TPM.

In a statement sent to Salon, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., who helped draft the original VAWA legislation, said that “Women across America are looking to this House to finally reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and I hope the speaker sees protecting all women against violence as more important than appeasing the fringe of his caucus, who have sought to exclude undocumented women, Native American women, and LGBT victims."

Jillian Rayfield

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

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Domestic Violence House Republicans Louise Slaughter Patrick Leahy Violence Against Women Act