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House Speaker Boehner Names Members for Nonexistent VAWA Conference Committee

House Speaker Boehner Names Members for Nonexistent VAWA Conference Committee

July 31, 2012 — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday named eight House Republicans to serve on a conference committee to negotiate a final agreement on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, even though no committee has been established, Politico's "On Congress Blog" reports (Min Kim, "On Congress Blog," Politico, 7/30).

The House and Senate have been at an impasse over reauthorizing the law since they each approved different versions earlier this year. One of the main issues is that House leaders say the Senate version (S 1925) violates the constitutional requirement that all revenue-raising bills originate in the House, given that it contains a $30 fee associated with temporary visas for undocumented immigrants who are victims of abuse (Gramlich, CQ Today, 7/30).

If Senate Democrats agree to a conference without approving a bill that complies with the constitutional requirement, they would be forced to concede the provision regarding undocumented immigrants, according to Roll Call (Shiner, Roll Call, 7/31). Unlike the House version (HR 4970), the Senate version contains provisions aimed at protecting Native American women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals ("On Congress Blog," Politico, 7/30).

A senior Democratic aide on Monday said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is considering naming his own conferees. However, there is little indication as to whether that would lead to the creation of a formal conference committee, according to CQ Today (CQ Today, 7/30). Both chambers are scheduled to start summer recess next week.

The Republicans whom Boehner selected to represent the House in talks are Reps. Sandy Adams (Fla.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Shelley Capito (W.Va.), Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Cathy Rodgers (Wash.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.), along with Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (Texas) (Roll Call, 7/31).