Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a rising star in the Republican Party and considered a top presidential contender in 2016, voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act Tuesday. The bill passed by the Senate Tuesday expanded VAWA by adding protections for gays, undocumented immigrants and Native American women who suffer from domestic abuse.
In a statement released Tuesday, Rubio explained that though he continues to support programs “to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking,” he did not support all elements of the expanded bill.
Unfortunately, I could not support the final, entire legislation that contains new provisions that could have potentially adverse consequences. Specifically, this bill would mandate the diversion of a portion of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs, although there’s no evidence to suggest this shift will result in a greater number of convictions. These funding decisions should be left up to the state-based coalitions that understand local needs best, but instead this new legislation would put those decisions into the hands of distant Washington bureaucrats in the Department of Justice. Additionally, I have concerns regarding the conferring of criminal jurisdiction to some Indian tribal governments over all persons in Indian country, including non-Indians.
The Senate passed reauthorization by a vote of 78 to 22.