The Senate overwhelmingly agreed Monday to advance legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, winning over strong bipartisan support to bypass a filibuster and consider the renewal of domestic abuse funding that is currently on life support.
The motion to proceed to debate passed by a vote of 85-8. Final passage of the legislation is expected later this week.
Top Democrats revealed last Friday that they had lined up more than 60 votes for the legislation and would fast-track it to the floor. Last year, the measure passed 68-31 but died in the House after Republican leaders objected to provisions expanding protections to gays, illegal immigrants, college students and Native Americans who have suffered from domestic abuse.
Now, having eliminated a procedural hurdle to House passage, Democrats are twisting the knife.
“It is unthinkable that Republicans in the House would prevent us from taking action — again refuse to do anything as they did last Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said before the vote Monday. “Allowing partisan delays to put women’s lives at risk is simply shameful. … I hope the Senate’s bipartisan action this week will send a strong message to House Republican leaders that further partisan delay is unacceptable.”