Three Jewish groups praised the U.S. Senate's reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and urged the House of Representatives to follow suit.
The Senate on Tuesday approved by a 78-22 vote the bill that would reauthorize the act first passed in 1994 for another five years. The bill was guaranteed passage in the Democratic-led Senate, but garnered substantial Republican support as well.
An effort to renew the act last year was stymied by objections in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, Republicans objected to expansions that would cover same-sex couples and would reinforce coverage for undocumented immigrants and Native Americans. Many of these expanded protections remain, but House Republican leaders say they now expect to approve the act's extension, with some minor modifications.
"The Violence Against Women Act has already reduced the rate of domestic violence by more than 50 percent since its original passage in 1994," Jewish Women International said in its statement. It applauded the expanded version, saying it "ensures the continued support of successful programs and services, strengthens legal protections for LGBT victims, immigrants and college students, and gives Native American women equal access to justice."
Also applauding the reauthorization were the Reform moment and the National Council of Jewish Women. "Domestic violence legislation has a long bipartisan history which we hope will inspire renewed efforts to reauthorize the law as quickly as possible," the NCJW said.
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