(WASHINGTON) — House Democrats say they are not satisfied with the Republican-crafted version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, pledging to oppose it if it comes up for a vote later this week in the House.
Speaking at the Capitol Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the Republican measure a step down from the Senate bill that passed with bipartisan support earlier this month, saying that “this bill is weaker than the Senate bill, weaker than the current law.”
House Democrats said that the Republican-proposed version up for consideration this week does not provide adequate protection for the sexual crime victims associated with human trafficking or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Native American communities.
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., who has previously detailed her experience as a sexual assault victim on the House floor, asked her GOP colleagues Tuesday afternoon to “stand up for what is right and righteous, and reconsider this ill-conceived legislation, and work together with us to pass the bipartisan Senate bill.”
A House GOP leadership aide defended the latest Republican proposal, contending that House Democrats are using the politically contentious issue as a way to divide the Republican Party. Some members of the Republican conference have pressured leadership to allow a vote on the Senate bill rather than delay passage with another political fight.
The House GOP aide said the Republican leadership believes its bill makes significant improvements to the Senate bill, claiming that every woman is protected from discrimination.
The House could vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act as soon as Thursday. However, considering the divisions in the lower chamber, it is unclear which version – the Senate bill or House bill – would come up for consideration.
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