Michele Bachmann only MN congressperson to vote against Violence Against Women Act
Erik Paulsen and John Kline voted for the bill, but not Michele.
Yesterday, Michele Bachmann was the only Minnesota congressperson to vote against reauthorization of the historically uncontroversial Violence Against Women Act. Then, in classic Bachmann fashion, her spokesman explained her vote by offering up a heaping mound of doublespeak.
The VAWA -- first approved in 1994 and reapproved twice since 2000 before yesterday's vote -- drew ire from some Republicans this time around for reasons "ranging from a belief that states should handle such matters to concerns over protections extended to gays and lesbians and expanding the authority of tribal courts," the Washington Post reports.
Mother Jones details the political wrangling that preceded yesterday's vote:
On Thursday, following a heated debate on the House floor, lawmakers passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans had held up the law for more than a year over provisions designed to protect undocumented immigrants, Native Americans and members of the LGBT community. In a separate, earlier vote, the House rejected an alternative, stripped-down VAWA pushed by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, instead embracing the bipartisan version of the bill the Senate passed last week.
The Senate version of the bill, however, was itself a modified version of Democrats' original bill, passed after Democrats acquiesced to Republican objections and removed a section that would have made more visas available to undocumented victims of domestic violence who help law enforcement prosecute their abusers. But the Senate's compromise bill wasn't good enough for the House Republican leadership, who introduced an alternate version that removed protections for members of the LGBT community and made it harder for tribal courts to prosecute non-Indian abusers [that version of the bill was voted down, paving the way for House approval of the Senate's modified version]...
Thursday's vote was much closer than 2005, the last time the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized. This year, the bill passed 286-138, with just 87 Republicans joining all 199 Democrats (one Democrat did not vote). In 2005, there were only four "no" votes.
That seems to make it pretty clear that the version of VAWA pushed by Senate Democrats was the stronger version of the bill, right? Not according to the reasoning employed by Bachmann spokesman Dan Kotman.
"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," Kotman told the Star Tribune.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.