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Senate Passes Violence Against Women Act

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Last week the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and the legislation is now sitting in the House.

The Senate-passed legislation extends protections to the LGBT community and immigrants, which is upsetting some Republicans. Maryland Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards says those complaints ring hollow.

"I worked in shelters," she says. "When somebody comes in and they're victimized, we don't ask them where did they come from, all of those details... what we want to do is figure out how do we get programs and services to people who have been victimized by a crime."

Republicans also don't like that the Senate bill allows tribal courts to prosecute non-natives who abuse native women on reservations. The legislation hasn't been authorized since 2011, which Edwards say is hurting local communities.

"Over 2,500 shelters and domestic violence programs that are right now being starved because we're fooling over something that really just should not have a D or and R in front of it," she says.

House leaders have not scheduled a vote on Violence Against Women Act yet.

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