On Thursday, the House voted to renew the Violence Against Women Act, extending its protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to undocumented immigrants, LGBT individuals and Native Americans, who were not covered under the previous law. The Act, which became federal law in 1994 and expired in 2011, has been held up in Washington for more than a year due to those expanded provisions. In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House agreed first to vote on and then to pass the Senate bill with added provisions. 87 Republicans joined all the Democrats in the House to send the bill to the President’s desk.
The Vice President issued a statement praising Congress for passing the act. Biden, the member of Obama’s administration who has become the face for aggressively pursuing gun control after Newtown, linked VAWA to gun violence, citing a statistic that nearly half of mass shootings stem from domestic violence:
“The urgent need for this bill cannot be more obvious. Consider just one fact—that 40% of all mass shootings started with the murderer targeting their girlfriend, or their wife, or their ex-wife. Among many other important provisions, the new VAWA will increase the use of proven models of reducing domestic violence homicides.”