VAWA 2013: House GOP Unveils Bill With No LGBT Protections, Modified Tribal Provision

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Jennifer Bendery / Huffington Post jen.bendery@huffingtonpost.com

Feburary 22, 2013

WASHINGTON -- House Republican leaders quietly unveiled their Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill on Friday, a proposal that differs from what the Senate passed last week in a handful of ways, namely in its omission of LGBT protections and its modified language targeting Native American victims of domestic abuse.

The GOP proposal was posted on the House Rules Committee website with little fanfare, along with an announcement that the committee will begin moving the bill forward in a Tuesday hearing. No author is listed, but Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) has been floated as the likely sponsor.

Here is a link to their 288-page bill and a section-by-section analysis of what's in it. House Republicans are planning to take up the Senate bill, strip its contents and put their language into that bill.

More details on the House GOP bill will be available later, but a cursory look reveals some notable changes from the bipartisan VAWA bill that cleared the Senate last week.

The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. It also proposes compromise language aimed at helping Native American victims of violence. Under the Senate bill, tribal courts would gain new authority to prosecute non-Native American men who abuse Native American women on reservations. The House bill also grants that new authority -- a major change from their VAWA bill in the last Congress -- but adds a caveat that would allow those people to move their case to a federal court if they feel their constitutional rights aren't being upheld.

Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA last year for the first time since the law's inception in 1994, due in large part to House Republican opposition to the tribal provision. Neither House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) nor House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have released statements about Friday's bill being introduced.