Jennifer Bendery, HuffingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders quietly unveiled their Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill on Friday, a proposal that differs from what the Senate passed last week in a handful of ways, namely in its omission of LGBT protections and its modified language targeting Native American victims of domestic abuse.The GOP proposal was posted on the House Rules Committee website with little fanfare, along with an announcement that the committee will begin moving the bill forward in a Tuesday hearing. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will sponsor the bill and the House is expected to bring it to a full vote later next week, a House Republican leadership aide confirmed.
The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the bill removes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from the list of underserved populations who face barriers to accessing victim services, thereby disqualifying LGBT victims from a related grant program. The bill also eliminates a requirement in the Senate bill that programs that receive funding under VAWA provide services regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, the bill excludes the LGBT community from the STOP program, the largest VAWA grant program, which gives funds to care providers who work with law enforcement officials to address domestic violence.
At least one prominent domestic violence group, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, has already come out against the House bill.