A Washington Post editorial cites “hopeful signs that Congress may be getting serious about resolving the differences” that have held up reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act. The Senate and House last year each passed bills to reauthorize the act, but differences over new provisions for gay, immigrant, and Native American victims of intimate partner violence — opposed by the Republican-led House — derailed it. This month the Senate gave strong bipartisan approval to a bill that doesn't retreat from providing services to abuse victims, no matter their sexual orientation or immigration status.
In a concession aimed at winning passage in the House, a proposed increase in visas for victims who are undocumented was dropped. There is still disagreement about a provision to tackle the high incidence of domestic and sexual abuse of Native American women by giving new powers to tribal police and courts. The Senate bill includes comprehensive protections (rights to counsel, a speedy trial, due process, etc.) to those prosecuted in tribal courts, but concerns persist. Two conservative House Republicans, Darrell Issa (Ca.) and Tom Cole (Ok.), want to would allow a case to be moved to federal court if defendants' rights are violated.