Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, has been working with Democrats on a compromise of the Violence Against Women Act that passed the Senate. PHOTO: Reuters
Among the many things that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives might have done but didn't in the 112th Congress, perhaps the most egregious was not passing the Violence Against Women Act. The Violence Against Women Act, initially drafted by then-Senator Joe Biden in 1994, establishes penalties for violent crimes against women, a fund to investigate these crimes, and an office within the Department of Justice devoted to violent crimes against women. The Violence Against Women Act has been renewed every time it has come up, and the Senate passed a version of it earlier this year.
So why did it fail? Because it was expanded to include protections for Native Americans, LGBT women and undocumented immigrants. Three of the most marginalized groups in America. House Republicans opposed this expansion, and because of that, the Violence Against Women Act was allowed to expire.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray, who introduced the Senate bill, which passed with bipartisan support, was very disappointed with the House, and says she "absolutely" plans to reintroduce her bill in the next Congress:
They have the opportunity to take up this bill and show women and men that they understand that women's rights are important.
Along with the failure to bring up a Sandy relief package, not passing the Violence Against Women Act is one more failure by the 112th Congress that most people hope to forget very soon.