PA Republicans Go 7-6 for VAWA Reauthorization
The bill passed 286 to 138.
Two versions of the bill went to a vote Thursday. The first, the one passed by the Senate earlier in February, was the broadest. It reauthorized VAWA and added protections for gays and lesbians, illegal immigrants as well as native Americans who are victims of violence.
Both Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey voted in favor of the Senate version earlier February. The expanded version of the bill failed in 2012, when all but 2 Republicans voted no.
The second version, introduced by the GOP via an amendment, also reauthorized VAWA but was far more modest in its expansion of the law. It did not specifically address those groups, though it did broaden categories of what constitutes abuse.
The delegation broke down into three groups. All 5 Democrats voted for the final passage of VAWA and against the GOP amendment. They were joined by all for southeastern Pa. Republicans: Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) and Pat Meehan (R-Delaware).
Three Republicans voted in favor of both versions: Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne), Bill Shuster (R-Blair) and GT Thompson (R-Centre).
6 Republicans voted yes on the GOP amendment but no on the final VAWA passage: Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Butler), Tom Marino (R-Lycoming), Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny), Scott Perry (R-York), Joe Pitts (R-Chester) and Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny).
“It is important to prevent and prosecute violence against women. The bill that I voted for today increases oversight and ensures that funds actually go to prosecuting perpetrators and providing much-needed services to victims,” said Rothfus of the GOP version.
“Unfortunately, the Senate bill raises constitutional questions and could deprive certain Americans of Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. Without the opportunity for the House Judiciary Committee to conduct hearings on the Senate bill, I could not support it.”