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House, Senate Disagree On Violence Against Women Act

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The U.S. House is this week scheduled to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, but Democrats in the region are opposing the bill because it scraps new provisions added by the Senate.

When the Violence Against Women Act initially became law in the 1990s, it garnered unanimous support in the Senate. Like most everything coming out of this Congress, however, it's now become an intensely partisan bill. 

The Senate version of the reauthorization, passed in late April, explicitly extends protections to the gay, lesbian and transgender communities and allows more immigrants who are abused to obtain visas. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) believes that goes too far. 

"I have concerns about expanding the bill," Goodlatte says. That provision is not included the House version.

But Democrats, such as Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), say this new House bill is just another example of the GOP being out of touch with the majority of Americans on gender issues. 

"Republicans in Virginia were voting for a transvaginal probe, around the country they're talking about questioning whether you have contraceptive coverage' the Ryan budget cuts women infant and children  pregnant women infant and children  nutrition programs," Scott says.

"It doesn't appropriately address several issues that other versions of the reauthorization had," he says of the bill.

Republicans counter that Democrats included touchy political issues in the legislation in order to score political points. With polls showing that Democrats are appealing more to female voters, Republicans accuse them of including social issues for partisan reasons. The House bill is expected to pass and then the two chambers will have to reconcile their differences.  

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