As the Republicans begin their effort to return to the Majority through the 2014 elections for US Senate, they seem to be battling on two fronts — internally in fear of attack from “certain” groups and recognizing that issues affecting women have pushed more voters away from their candidates.
After the House failed to agree to renew The Violence Against Woman Act last session, the Senate has already approved a bill this session — by a vote of 78 to 22 … the 22 no votes were all Republican men. The Senate bill extends the act for five years and provides $659 million for VAWA programs, down 17 percent from the last reauthorization in 2005.
Senator Al Franken expressed his feelings and recognized that the House must act :
More than two decades ago, Sheila Wellstone found her voice as a public figure, traveling Minnesota to spend time at women’s shelters and listening to stories about the painful reality of domestic violence.
She and Paul were champions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in 1994. And, thanks in part to their work, VAWA proved to be an effective tool in reducing domestic assault and saving lives.
Unfortunately, House Republicans refused to reauthorize VAWA in the last Congress. Now it’s up to us to put the law back on the books.
Franni and I were deeply inspired by Sheila and Paul’s example. She’s made sure to visit women’s shelters during her travels around the state, and in Washington, I’ve worked on enhancing VAWA’s protections.
So we were both devastated when House Republicans, objecting to increased protections for the LGBT and Native American communities, decided to let VAWA expire.
This had been a bipartisan issue for a long time. And it can be again. Senators of both parties supported VAWA in the Senate this week. Now it’s the House’s turn. Let’s send a message that we expect them to pass VAWA: no excuses, no exceptions, and no delays.
Senator Franken’s seat will be on the ballot in 2014 as will the seat currently held by Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Senator Rockefeller said he is hopeful the House of Representatives will follow suit. “Everyone deserves to be safe from abuse. The resources provided though the reauthorization of VAWA can literally save lives.”
Interestingly the only announced Republican in the West Virginia contest has already taken “heat” from “certain” groups while polls indicate that she is leading the contest to replace Senator Rockefeller.
Representative Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, is the early, prohibitive favorite to succeed Democratic Senator Rockefeller, according to the results of a GOP poll, which revealed that she has an 18-point lead over Democratic Representative Nick Rahall, 55 percent to 37 percent.
That is in face of the question posed by Club for Growth President Chris Chocola
– “Is Shelley Moore Capito the “right” kind of Republican U.S. Senate Candidate?”
Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins issued a statement, “If Republicans in West Virginia want to save their country, they need to find another candidate with the courage to say ‘no’ to more spending and debt.”
[Note : if you missed it earlier, the Senate bill funds VAWA programs at a rate that is 17 percent less than the last reauthorization in 2005.]
Congresswoman Moore Capito reacted the the Senate vote by telling The Hill :
“It is far, far past due to reauthorize VAWA. The Senate version of VAWA achieves the main purpose — helping protect women who are victims of domestic abuse — and for that reason, I would support it if the House decides to bring it up.”
Let’s salute Congresswoman Moore Capito’s leadership … she may take some hits politically (or benefit from it), but she Stood Up and took a stand.
Congresswoman Moore Capito is not the only Republican pushing House leadership to move on this legislation. On February 11th, a letter was signed by the following legislators to urge action :
Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV-02
Rodney Davis, R-IL-13
Charlie Dent, R-PA-15
Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ-11
Mike Fitzpatrick, R-PA-08
Jim Gerlach, R-PA-06
Chris Gibson, R-NY-19
Michael Grimm, R-NY-11
Richard Hanna, R-NY-22
David Joyce, R-OH-14
Leonard Lane, R-NJ-07
Frank Lo Biondo, R-NJ-02
Patrick Meehan, R-PA-07
Tom Reed, R-NY-23
Dave Reichert, R-WA-08
Jon Runyan, R-NJ-03
Lee Terry, R-NE-02
NOTE : There the absence of John Kline (R-MN-02), Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN-06) on the list.
The House is faced with a choice …
1.) debate and vote on the Senate bill
2.) hold hearings on H.R. 11 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 which has 200 co-sponsors, debate, vote and if approved work in a conference committee to resolve whatever minor differences there may be between the two bills.
[Note : H.R. 11 has been assigned to Chairman Kline’s Education and Workforce Committee for a hearing but nothing is currently on the announced schedule.]
3.) wait for a Republican to offer a bill.
4.) ignore the problem and claim that it is an example of wasteful federal government intervention into people’s lives and State’s Rights.
Considering that PoliFact has reviewed the claims that “Since VAWA was first passed, incidents of domestic violence have dropped more than 50 percent” and determined it to be true …
And that Congresswoman Moore Capito has urged that “It is far, far past due to reauthorize VAWA. The Senate version of VAWA achieves the main purpose — helping protect women who are victims of domestic abuse”
the only relevant question is : Why are not Minnesota Republicans embracing this legislation ?
Representatives Bachmann, Kline and Paulsen have all been mentioned as possible US Senate candidates, why are they letting Senator Franken take the lead on this issue ?
Oh … maybe that’s the point … Senator Franken is exhibiting Leadership and the House Republicans are just obstructing.