The Violence Against Women Act is finally heading to the president’s desk this week after a dragged-out political fight over expanding protections to Native American, LGBT and immigrant victims of abuse.
The House voted 286 to 138 on Thursday to pass the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA. President Barack Obama praised the House for passing the broader Senate bill and said he’ll sign it into law as soon as possible.
“Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the LGBT community,” Obama said in a statement. “Renewing this 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.”
The House’s action means that VAWA will be reauthorized for another five years, with $659 million being provided for various programs targeting domestic violence. Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA when it expired in October 2011, due in large part to House Republican opposition over the new provisions in the Senate bill.