Senate Democrats are doing all they can to keep oxygen in this “war on women” narrative, and the next big agenda item is the vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. It’s an uncontroversial law, one that would have passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support. But that was before Democrats added a host of vaguely-related controversial new measures to it, including provisions on immigration and tribal laws.
Republicans have speculated that this was a tactic to provoke a fight over an otherwise uncontroversial piece of legislation. But it doesn’t sound like they’re going to take the bait, at least not in the Senate:
Senate Republicans are irritated at Democrats’ push to exploit the Violence Against Women Act for political gain but signaled today they aren’t planning an effort to block or delay it.
As Senate Democratic women and Vice President Joseph Biden amped up their push to reauthorize the bill at separate events today, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters that Republicans don’t intend to filibuster it, with the assumption that Democratic leaders will at least allow a Republican alternative to be offered for a vote.
“All these things add up to things that are keeping a bill that could pass on a voice vote from being passed,” Grassley said. “Violence against women except for these additions is noncontroversial. I’m afraid what they’re doing here is they want a political issue — you know, ‘war on women’ — and they are going to end up with another one-year extension.”
Democrats continued to decry GOP “obstructionism” today, despite the indications that Senate Republicans won’t filibuster the bill (and probably couldn’t if they wanted to, as it has 61 co-sponsors):
“I’m worried that a few Republicans are returning to the playbook of obstruction,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who chairs the Democrats’ campaign arm. “Women in America cannot afford political theater on this issue, not on this issue. Their lives depend on it.”
“It is very important that it not be made political fodder,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said. The California Democrat added that the bill is not a new concept and has been expanded several times in the past.
“We all thought it was a no-brainer to extend it to everybody,” she said, adding that it was a “big surprise” to her in the Judiciary Committee when the Republicans voted against it.
Be prepared for a lot more rhetoric once the bill passes the Senate and heads to the House, where the Republican majority will likely put up much more of a fight. We’ve had to sit through the “war on women” and “do-nothing-Congress” narratives, but it sounds like both ridiculously dishonest Obama memes will finally collide during the VAWA fight.