Congressional hearings are supposed to be genteel affairs where very few fireworks occur, but at a hearing on the Violence Against Women act, fiery Rep. John Conyers was through with the niceties. Conyers blasted his Republican colleagues for making so many changes to the bipartisan bill that had come over to the House from the Senate that he said it is actually “a step backwards and a flat-out attack on women.”
Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, claimed that the House Republican changes eliminate protections for immigrant women, Native Americans and the LGBT community.
“This bill is a move backwards,” Conyers told the committee. “I can assure you, you will not get the vote of the Democratic side of this committee because it is a step backwards and a flat-out attack on women.”
Conyers listed the ways that the GOP bill weakens protections for women—by eliminating confidentiality protections for immigrant women who have been abused, blocking a pathway to citizenship for immigrant witnesses who cooperate with police on domestic violence cases and stripping way protection for LGBT and Native American victims. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 civil rights groups, is opposed to the House Republican version of the bill, Conyers pointed out.
But in defending their version of the bill, House Republicans said their approach actually “enhances” protections for immigrants because too many women have been faking domestic abuse in order to get citizenship.