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Senate Judiciary Chair Leahy Says Violence Against Women Act Will Be Top Priority

Senate Judiciary Chair Leahy Says Violence Against Women Act Will Be Top Priority

January 17, 2013 — Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday said that legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act will be his first priority in the 113th Congress, the Huffington Post reports.

The Senate in 2012 passed a VAWA reauthorization bill (S 1925) that included additional protections for Native American, immigrant, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. However, the House rejected the bill and passed its own version (HR 4970), which omitted the added protections. The standoff resulted in the legislation expiring for the first time.

"Like so many other worthy efforts, renewing VAWA suffered from obstructionism that has seeped too much into our legislative process," Leahy said during remarks at the Georgetown University Law Center (Bendery, Huffington Post, 1/16).

Leahy's committee will be balancing attention to the VAWA reauthorization with consideration of several other priorities he outlined on Wednesday, including gun violence and immigration reform (Anderson, CQ Roll Call, 1/16).

Leahy said that he will re-introduce a largely similar VAWA bill but will likely alter a provision regarding fees for special visas for immigrants in domestic violence situations. Republicans last year refused to consider the Senate version of the bill in part because the provision would generate revenue and, under the Constitution, all revenue-generating measures must originate in the House (Huffington Post, 1/16).