The Senate voted 68-31 Thursday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and expand its reach to American Indians and homosexuals, after Republicans opted out of an expected partisan brawl, reports the New York Times. But a political fight still looms when the House takes up a version of the legislation next month that lacks the hot-button issues added in the Senate. Fifteen Republicans voted for the measure, which extended landmark 1994 legislation to give courts and law enforcement new tools to combat domestic violence.
Amid partisan brawls over abortion and contraception, some Democrats saw the Violence Against Women Act as the next battle in what they framed as a Republican “war on women.” But Senate Republicans did not rise to the bait. Republican senators like John Cornyn of Texas made clear their concerns, but even before amendments to address those concerns were voted on, many of the same senators who had expressed reservations signaled that they would vote for the bill, regardless of whether it was changed. No Republicans spoke out against it before the final tally.