The GOP leadership's decision -- after blocking the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act for nearly a year -- eliminates an issue that has been politically toxic for Republicans and fueled charges by Democrats that the party was waging a "war on women." The original House GOP plan, as of last week, was to pass its own limited version of the reauthorization and go to conference with the Senate. But after anti-domestic-violence advocates slammed the GOP's alternative, they decided to fold.
The House GOP leadership gave a nod to conservatives with a procedural move to hold a vote on their version first and, only if it were to fail, allow a vote on Senate-passed version. The open secret is they knew the GOP version would not pass -- that conservatives and Democrats would kill it, which is what happened.
Some conservative advocates -- including the Heritage Foundation and RedState editor Erick Erickson -- saw the procedural move as a blatant surrender, and threatened to target Republicans who voted in favor of the plan with the expanded provisions.
Democrats and advocates against domestic violence immediately praised passage of the inclusive reauthorization. The House vote brings the long, drawn out battle to an end.
"Victims of violence and their advocates are breathing a collective sigh of relief today, knowing that this critical bill is on its way to President Obama for signature. We commend those who stood in support of victims and put the needs of those suffering from abuse ahead of partisan politics," said Kim Gandy, the president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. "These Representatives, and the Senators who voted in favor of the bipartisan VAWA, have renewed our nation's commitment to protecting victims of domestic and sexual violence."
This article has been updated since publication.