The Violence Against Women Act is finally being shipped off to Obama after both parties in Congress finally agreed to renew the bill.
There is obviously something to celebrate here, but at the same time there is something troubling about just how long it took for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to pass Congress.
The bill was first enacted back in 1994 and has always been the one thing that both parties could agree on. Ever since its creation it has been renewed by Congress twice without any problems, but when Vice President Joe Biden wanted to extend the protections in the bill suddenly the GOP decided that the bill had taken things a bit too far.
Biden was still a member of the Senate when the new changes to the bill were proposed, and now VAWA is finally on its way to Obama’s desk. So what new changes had Republicans not so sure if a bill protecting women should be approved?
Apparently, all women are not created equal according to them.
You see, the new version of the bill changed very little except that it extended the act’s protections to include all women regardless of their immigrant status or sexual orientation.
Despite billions being cut from the government’s spending budget, VAWA would still provide federal funding to help all victims of domestic violence through programs, shelters, and more. Certain members of Congress, mostly Republicans, felt as if protection against domestic abuse is a luxury that only heterosexual American citizens should enjoy.
As troubling as that may be, the important thing to remember for now is that VAWA has finally been passed and now there will be more protections for women no matter what their race or sexuality is.
While many are speculating that the GOP only gave in to help give themselves a better image in the eyes of female voters, President Obama is just happy that an agreement was finally reached.
“I was pleased to see the House of Representatives come together and vote to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act,” the President said in a statement. “Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse.”
In the statement the President also explained some other changes that VAWA will make.
“The bill also reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, providing critical support for both international and domestic victims of trafficking and helping ensure traffickers are brought to justice,” he added.
With many major cities in American becoming hubs for sex trafficking – including Atlanta – this is a key proponent to the bill that both parties were able to agree with.
“I want to thank both parties – especially Leader Pelosi, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Senator Leahy – for everything they’ve done to make this happen. Renewing the bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk.”
We are excited that VAWA is on its way to the President’s desk, but you can’t help but wonder – if it took this long for Congress to agree that ALL women should be protected from domestic violence, how will they ever reach a compromise when it comes to tricky fiscal policies?