National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

House Expected To Advance Senate Version of Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization

House Expected To Advance Senate Version of Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization

February 27, 2013 — After failing to garner enough support for their own version of a Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, House Republicans on Thursday are expected to pass the Senate version (S 47) of the measure without any changes, Politico reports (Sherman, Politico, 2/26).

Although some House conservatives disagree with provisions of the Senate bill, a House version that GOP leaders released last week was even less popular, according to GOP sources, Roll Call reports (Newhauser/Anderson, Roll Call, 2/26). In particular, the House version failed to assuage GOP concerns about granting authority to tribal courts to hear cases involving non-Native Americans accused of assaulting Native American women on reservations (Peterson/Hook, Wall Street Journal, 2/26).

The Senate bill also includes language to extend VAWA protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals that is not in the House version.

House leaders on Tuesday set up a process to advance its version as an amendment (H. Res. 83) to the Senate version. Lawmakers are expected to reject the House resolution on Thursday and vote in favor of the Senate bill, according to Roll Call (Roll Call, 2/26).

House approval of the Senate version would mark a "significant shift from last year," when both chambers approved reauthorization measures but failed to reconcile their differences, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The White House said in a statement that it would not support the House version, which "fails to include critical improvements passed by a large bipartisan margin in the Senate that would continue the progress the nation has made in combating violence against women" (Wall Street Journal, 2/26).

New York Times Opinion Piece Stresses Importance of Tribal Courts Provision

"Having lost the votes of many women, Republicans now have the chance to recover some trust" by approving the Senate version of the VAWA reauthorization, which would give a "slim margin of hope for justice" to Native American women who have little recourse in assaults by non-Native Americans, Louise Erdrich, an author, writes in a New York Times opinion piece.

Erdrich notes that more than 80% of sexual assaults on tribal reservations are committed by non-Native American men, but they "are immune from prosecution by tribal courts." She adds, "To protect Native women, tribal authorities must be able to apprehend, charge and try rapists -- regardless of race" (Erdrich, New York Times, 2/26).