REAUTHORIZING THE Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a critical task that merits thoughtful attention. It’s distressing — even sickening — that debate about this landmark law has devolved into one more election-year grudge match between Democrats and Republicans shamelessly using gender to try to score political points.
Now that the House and Senate have passed competing versions of a reauthorization, it’s time to work out the differences so as not to imperil a measure that has made communities safer for women and children. A good first step would be ending the ridiculous hyperbole that each side has employed to impugn the other’s motives.
The overheated rhetoric was on full display last week as the GOP-led House voted largely along party lines for a reauthorization bill that was vigorously opposed by Democrats who favored a different version passed by the Senate. “Let’s call this bill what it really is. It’s not the Violence Against Women Act, but the Open Season for Violence Against Women Act,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) at a news conference preceding Wednesday’s vote.