April 27, 2012 — The Senate on Thursday voted 68-31 to approve a bill (S 1925) that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, with 15 Republicans joining all the Democrats in supporting the bill, the Los Angeles Times reports (Mascaro, Los Angeles Times, 4/26).
Earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) announced that Republicans would not attempt to filibuster the measure. They also denied allegations by Democrats that conservatives are waging a "war on women" (Wong, Politico, 4/26).
Republicans had objected to language that would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in VAWA-funded programs. They also opposed provisions that would increase the number of visas for undocumented immigrants who are abused and allow the government to prosecute non-Native American perpetrators on tribal reservations (Helderman, "2chambers," Washington Post, 4/26).
The vote came after the Senate rejected a Republican alternative bill (S 2338), as well as two amendments related to rape-kit testing (Wetzstein, Washington Times, 4/26). Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas) -- who authored the Republican alternative bill -- said before the vote that she would support the Democratic bill "even if it falls short" (Los Angeles Times, 4/26).
The bill now heads to the House, where Republicans are drafting their own version (Politico, 4/26). The measure likely will be similar to the Senate GOP version, which did not contain the provisions they opposed in the Democratic bill (Weisman, New York Times, 4/26).