House Set to Pass Senate Version of VAWA

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House Set to Pass Senate Version of VAWA

By Daniel Newhauser / Roll Call

Feb. 26, 2013, 8:38 p.m.

The House is expected to give in to Democratic pressure Thursday and pass the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act after failing to find a substitute that can garner the support of its members.

The Senate passed its bill earlier this month with broad bipartisan support. But it includes language unpalatable to many Republicans, including opening up domestic violence protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims and allowing tribal authorities to try non-tribal offenders if they commit a crime on an Indian reservation.

Republicans did not like that language, so they attempted to draft a version that could find support in the House. In the end, according to GOP sources, there was greater support in the House for the Senate-passed bill than the House-drafted text.

“You can expect the House consideration on VAWA to begin Thursday [morning] with the House language as an amendment to the Senate bill,” said one House source familiar with the bill.

It is virtually certain that a majority of Republicans will support the underlying bill, which would again leave House GOP leaders in a situation where they allow a bill to pass with a minority of their members voting in favor.

“Our members are pleased with the hard work put into the House-drafted version of the Violence Against Women Act and are happy to have the opportunity to vote on it as a substitute to the Senate text,” a GOP aide said.

Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., celebrated the decision.

“America’s mothers and daughters deserve a vote on the bipartisan Senate-passed legislation that has the support of a majority of members of the House of Representatives on both sides of the aisle,” he said.