The Violence Against Women Act — which provides funds for programs and services to combat domestic abuse — was a broadly bipartisan measure when it was passed in 1994, and gained support on both sides of the aisle the first two times it was renewed. But it looks like the third go-around won't go so smoothly, because many Republican legislators have decided that certain additions to the bill are unacceptable.
Of course, this is a tricky moment for Republicans to oppose a bill that's anti-domestic abuse; considering the recent, bitter fights over contraception and abortion restrictions, there's a real fear that the party will come off as thoroughly anti-women. (Of course some — hi there! — think they already, definitely, totally are.) Not great for an election year! And several senators have wondered if Democrats didn't add specific extensions to the act that would bait Republicans into opposing what seems like a no-brainer of a yea vote.
So, what tricks did the Democrats sneak into this bill that should be about stopping domestic abuse and protecting it's victims? The ones Republicans just have to oppose, even though they also dislike domestic abuse? You might want to sit down, because the political gamesmanship here is just shocking:
"The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence."
Laugh, because otherwise you'll cry. So, basically, the additions that Republicans simply can't support — the ones that are merely cynical chicanery by Democrats — would increase protection and aid for victims of domestic abuse who are in Indian tribes, who are gay, and who are illegal immigrants. Let's be clear: they're not upset that they have to come out against these things! They're totally fine with that! They're upset that doing so — and clearly they really want to do so, otherwise this wouldn't be a thing — will make them appear anti-women. (Well, anti-straight women who are citizens who don't live on reservations.)
Republicans: these all seem like things Democrats actually care about. (At least more than the GOP does.) I don't think they're doing this just to get your goat! So really, you should be upset that the Dems scored a twofer: advancing causes they really do support, and making you look bad! Well done, Democrats. Well done.