The New York Times:
With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives. …
“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”
The first election I was able to vote in ended up in George W. Bush’s narrow (and incredibly disappointing) re-election. I donated to the Kerry campaign and tried to get involved with the Chatham County Democrats in Georgia, where I went to school. And throughout the entire campaign, I listened to Republicans say things like, “John Kerry voted five times against sending armor to our troops.” And I would look into these accusations and discover that they were half of the truth – the other half being that these same bills also decimated benefits for veterans, or had other ridiculous provisions. Once or twice, Kerry or Edwards would mention it – Edwards more often, if I remember – but so often in debates, that point was simply conceded or dodged with a silly attempt to redirect blame.
The Republicans have been really good at this game for years. Name something the USAPATRIOT 1 act, and it doesn’t matter what vile, undemocratic legislation you stuff into it. If someone votes against it, they’re clearly voting against patriotism, right?
So I’m glad to see this finally turned around. I am a little concerned – I don’t want this gamesmanship to undermine the importance or chances of success for this bill – but after eight years (for me) of watching the GOP successfully pull this stunt, I’m glad to see a little role reversal here.
Post Script: Read some of the GOP objections:
Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. … It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.
Good to see where your priorities are, guys.
- “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” ↩