The Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act, picking up 16 additional Republican support and passing the bill 78 to 22.
Created in 1994, VAWA exists to help programs and services of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. While it typically gets reauthorized easily, Congress failed to do so last year because of provisions in the Senate bill that included protection for LGBT, Native American and limited provisions to undocumented immigrants. The VAWA bill that was passed today includes protection for LGBT and Native Americans but protection for undocumented immigrants was not included. A few amendments were added on to the bill which includes a provision targeting human trafficking and a provision to ensure child victims of sex trafficking are eligible for grant assistance.
The bill now heads to the House where it is unclear how they plan to proceed. As Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement:
“Delay isn’t an option when three women are still killed by their husbands of boyfriends every day. Delay isn’t an option when countless women still live in fear of abuse, and when one in five have been victims of rape. This issue should be beyond debate—the House should follow the Senate’s lead and pass the Violence Against Women Act right away.”