Vox: The NRA tried to block an updated Violence Against Women Act in the House — and failed

The House just overwhelmingly approved a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, the United States’ landmark legislation funding programs meant to prevent and prosecute abuse against women. It did so in the face of staunch opposition from the National Rifle Association, which argued that a new provision in the bill barring dating partners convicted of abuse and stalking from owning firearms went too far.

VAWA —which was co-authored by then-Sen. Joe Biden and Rep. Louise Slaughter — first became law in 1994 and has been reauthorized by Congress roughly every five years since. When it initially passed, it was the first comprehensive national law to tackle violence directed at women, including domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Every time VAWA has been reauthorized in the past, lawmakers have sought to strengthen the law and close potential loopholes that older versions may have had. In 2013, lawmakers pushed through changes that would extend the provisions of the law to cover same-sex couples, for example. Lawmakers are seeking to do the same this time around as well — and it’s one of the main reasons Democrats resisted including an extension of the legislation in an omnibus package negotiated to end the shutdown.

Read the full article here »