President Obama’s office released a statement opposing House legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Does that mean he hates women? No, no more than Republican opposition to the Senate version of VAWA proves that the GOP supports domestic violence.
“The Administration is pleased that the House of Representatives has committed to reauthorizing the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), but the Administration cannot support the House substitute to S. 47 as currently drafted,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a policy statement.
OMB went on to detail various complaints with the House bill. For instance, it omits a provision that “requires colleges and universities to provide information to students about dating violence and sexual assault and to develop policies that improve reporting, investigation, and services for victims of these crimes.” OMB also says that “the House bill also would inhibit the successful prosecution by tribal authorities of non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence.”
In short, Obama and House Republicans have a substantive disagreement about what provisions should be added to the old VAWA, which originally passed in 1994.
If Obama were a Republican, liberal groups might argue that he is “holding hostage” the benefits that VAWA has provided to so many women already in order to extend the reach of the bill. As it is, they’re happy to smear Republicans.
“After 127,000 of you called out Eric Cantor for blocking the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), he rushed to the House floor to declare that he cares ‘very deeply about women.’” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee wrote in an email to supporters. “What a joke . . . Denying legal protections to victims of domestic abuse is certainly not ‘caring.’” DCCC issued there first email attacking Cantor on the day that he delivered a broad policy speech at the American Enterprise Institute proposing a conservative agenda for the new Congress, but also compromising on major policy items such as the DREAM Act. The timing of that attack suggests that DCCC cared more about weakening Cantor than anything else.
The attack is especially disingenuous given that Cantor has taken the lead in negotiating with Democrats on how to extend VAWA.
“The Majority Leader was happy to try to work with Senate Democrats in an effort to pass VAWA,” a Cantor aide told The Washington Examiner. “Unfortunately, we were not able to come to a final agreement. We continue to work with VAWA advocates on the best path forward to ensure we protect women and prosecute offenders.”