The House Just Reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans Senators Want to Kill it.

And Rep. Ayanna Pressley gave a damn good speech.

On Thursday afternoon, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Originally co-authored by then-Senator Joe Biden and Rep. Louise Slaughter in 1994, it provides funding for programs that encourage the prevention and prosecution of abuse against women. The landmark legislation has been reauthorized by Congress about every five years since its first introduction. This year, however, Congress allowed VAWA to expire when it was left out of February’s huge spending bill that ended the partial government shutdown.

Ahead of the House vote, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) took to the floor to give an impassioned speech about her own experiences with domestic violence.

Through each reauthorization, legislators have sought to extend VAWA’s reach and close various loopholes that older versions may have included—in 2013, it was amended to include same-sex couples. In its most recent iteration, Democrats hope to close the “boyfriend loophole,” which previously allowed partners who have been convicted of abuse to purchase a firearm, drawing the opposition of the NRA. “The gun control lobby and anti-gun politicians are intentionally politicizing the Violence Against Women Act as a smokescreen to push their gun control agenda,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told NPR.

But while 33 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote in favor of VAWA, the GOP-controlled Senate is likely to shoot it down. That body hopes to pass what they call a “clean” version of the bill, which extends the funding, but excludes the Democratic add ons. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) are currently working on their own bipartisan version of the reauthorization, though no information about the inclusion of the House provisions is yet known.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.