House GOP Silent As Senate Plans Vote On Violence Against Women Act

The Senate is fast-tracking its reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to a floor vote expected by next week, two Democratic aides tell TPM.

But House Republican leaders remain silent on how they intend to proceed, which suggests that there has not been a breakthrough since last year, when the bill fell prey to the House GOP’s resistance to expand coverage to gays, illegal immigrants and Native Americans who have suffered domestic abuse.

A Democratic leadership aide said the legislation, re-introduced last week by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and a bipartisan group of senators, is on tap for a floor vote after the chamber finalizes the confirmation of John Kerry as secretary of state and approves a measure to extend the debt ceiling. The aide said that could happen late this week at the earliest, but more likely early next week.Leahy’s spokesperson confirmed that the bill, which enjoys broad bipartisan support in the Senate, would bypass committee and face a floor vote soon.

The move puts pressure on House Republicans to act on the widely popular measure, which expired in 2011 but has continued to receive funding through the appropriations process. House Democrats have introduced the same bill as the Senate. It eliminates a provision from last year’s Senate-passed bill which raised revenue. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) cited that provision in declining to move on the bill. Revenue-raising measures must originate in the House, according to the Constitution. By stripping out that language, proponents hope to deny Boehner use of that procedural objection.

So far, House Republican leaders have been mum on the issue. Two House GOP leadership aides did not respond to requests for comment.

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