Last Thursday, House Republican leadership shamefully capitulated to bullying from radical feminists and Senate liberals when they brought the Senate-passed version of the Violence Against Women Act to the floor of the House of Representatives.
The dreadful bill passed by a vote of 286-138, as 87 Republicans joined all 199 Democrats in voting for the bill. Unfortunately, radical liberals so controlled this debate that House leadership did not even consider offering a conservative alternative bill. However, they did offer an alternative amendment that eliminated some of the worst aspects of the Senate bill. For example, the House amendment put in safeguards to protect non-tribal U.S. citizens accused under the law in Native American courts, eliminating special carve-outs for LGBT victims (which is unnecessary, because VAWA already requires that services be available to all victims) and eliminating gaping loopholes for immigration fraud. This bill was defeated because liberals would not accept the watered down carve outs to their sacred cows and constitutional conservatives would not accept the still fiscally and constitutionally unacceptable bill.
Eagle Forum and our pro-family allies on Capitol Hill will continue to fight for a true conservative alternative to VAWA - families in crisis deserve safe and effective assistance. This is better achieved when the states, not radical leftist Washington bureaucrats, allocate money to programs at the local level where victims’ needs are best assessed and met. VAWA in its current form is highly politicized, completely unaccountable, contains several requirements like no-drop prosecution and mandatory arrest policies that a recent Time Magazine article notes deter victims from reporting violence and according to a Harvard study actually result in a significant increase in partner violence.
Many of the VAWA programs require women to file for divorce before receiving help. VAWA should be revised to encourage counseling, when appropriate and voluntary, instead of promoting family breakdown, which further harms women and children. VAWA money should also be used to help families combat the cause of violence, drugs and alcohol. VAWA’s feminist authors have fiercely resisted such programs because they deny the gender feminist philosophy upon which VAWA is based - that domestic violence occurs because men are natural batters and women are natural victims.
VAWA also gives millions of dollars each year to colleges for the purpose of discouraging violence against women. This money has been used to fund productions of the vulgar radical feminist play “The Vagina Monologues” and similar folly like “womanless beauty pageants” such as “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” events in which men are forced to parade across stages wearing high heels and red nail polish in an effort to understand how it feels to be an objectified woman. Mississippi State University recently funded such a production out of a $300,000 VAWA grant.
Victims deserve actual help, not feminist nonsense, and we will work with conservatives in Congress to draft a fiscally responsible, constitutionally sound bill designed to help actual victims, not just perpetuate harmful feminist rhetoric.
On a positive note, although VAWA is reauthorized for another 5 years, we saw many small victories in this fight. Many other conservative groups in DC who previously failed to speak out against VAWA worked with us to unleash the truths about these awful bills. We also had a very successful Twitter chat on the issue – expanding our social media reach and making sure the truths about VAWA were told in that forum that had been exclusively dominated by feminists. Also, the fact that 22 Senators voted against VAWA, when in the past only 5 or 6 had, is a strong indication of strengthening conservatism in the Senate.
No Illinois House members voted NO on BOTH the House amendment and the Senate bill.
Unfortunately, these Republican Members voted YES on both bills:
Davis, Rodney (IL)
Thankfully, no Illinois Republicans betrayed their party and principle by voting NO on the House version but YES on the Senate while some of their colleagues did choose that path.
In our opinion, the rest of the Republican Members (not listed) did the best they could by voting for the less damaging House version of VAWA while voting against the awful Senate version.
For the full roll-call list, you can find the failed House-version votes here and the passed Senate-version vote here.