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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:35 PM

Senate To Vote On Violence Against Women Act Next Week

VAWA Reauthorization Will Get Senate Vote Next Week

WASHINGTON -- The Senate will vote early next week to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, senior Democratic aides told The Huffington Post on Monday.

The Senate has been moving with lightning speed to get VAWA up and out the door. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced their bill last Tuesday and, a day later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he was expediting it to the floor and bypassing the committee process.

Leahy's bill is similar to what he introduced in the last Congress: it reauthorizes VAWA and adds new protections for members of the LGBT community and Native Americans. The biggest change from last year's version is it nixes a provision to increase the number of visas for immigrant victims of violence. Leahy took that provision out to keep House Republican leaders from accusing him of having a "blue slip" problem; instead, he plans to attach it to immigration reform legislation.

The Senate VAWA bill had broad bipartisan support last year and is expected to receive the same this time. The looming question is how the House plans to proceed. Last year, House Republican leaders refused to give the Senate bill a vote, arguing that its new protections were politically driven. Instead, they removed the protections and passed their own pared-down bill, which had no support in the Senate and ultimately led to VAWA not being reauthorized by the time Congress adjourned. That failure marked the first time the law has been allowed to expire since its inception in 1994.



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