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After months of stalled efforts, the U.S. House has passed the Violence Against Women Act.
By a bipartisan vote of 286 to 138, the House passed the Senate version of the bill, sending the bill to the President's desk, where it is expected to be signed.
Some Republicans didn't like the Senate version of the measure, which extends protections to the LGBT community and undocumented workers. Some also raised constitutional questions about allowing courts on Indian reservations to prosecute non-natives who abuse native women.
The bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate, but many rank and file Republicans wanted the House to pass a different version. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Ma.) says he's glad Republican leaders relented and allowed the Senate bill to come up for a vote today.
"When you have an extreme Tea Party wing of the Republican caucus, the only way to get moderate bipartisan legislation passed is by allowing the full House to work its will," he says. "That's the way the place should work."
The House version of the bill was voted down 166-257, with 60 Republicans voting against it.
FBI data suggest there was a slight uptick in violent crime in the first half of last year, but overall violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years. What led to the long-term decline, and why do some say it’s likely to continue?