Bachmann votes against Violence Against Women Act
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- February 28, 2013 - 2:56 PM
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann was the lone member of Minnesota's congressional delegation to vote against the Violence Against Women Act, a law credited with raising awareness about abuse of women.
The House vote was 286 to 138, with 87 Republicans, including Minnesota U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen, joining Democrats to pass the bill.
The legislation authorizes funding for programs that aid domestic violence and sexual assault victims, including shelters and support hotlines. It also covers funding for programs to prosecute people charged with committing the crimes.
The renewal approved Thursday renewed the law, which was first passed in 1994, and broadened its reach to include Native American and immigrant women and gay and transgender people.
While Republicans supported renewing the Violence Against Women Act, some conservatives members of Congress objected to the added specific protections, including provisions giving tribal courts jurisdiction to prosecute cases on Indian reservations.
On Wednesday, House members rejected a Republican version that did not include the extra protections.
"Rep. Bachmann recognizes the importance of giving local law enforcement and nonprofit programs the resources they need to fight against domestic violence and sexual assault, which is why she supported the stronger House version of the Violence Against Women Act," said Bachmann spokesman Dan Kotman.
Before voting for the expanded legislation, Kline and Paulsen joined Bachmann in supporting the failed Republican version.
The House bill mirrors the version passed by the Democrat-led Senate, which included two provisions written by U.S. Sen. Al Franken. The new rules ensure that sexual assault victims don't have to pay for their own rape kits and will make it illegal to evict a woman from public housing because she is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The bill also included a provision by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar that would strengthen federal stalking laws.
"Women should never have to live in fear of domestic and sexual violence, and our nation's laws should do everything possible to protect them," Franken said in a statement.
President Obama said Thursday he will sign the bill into law.
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