WASHINGTON — With possibly hours left until the Senate votes to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, conservative groups are ramping up their efforts to pressure Republicans to vote against the bill, making claims the bill’s proponents say are either misleading or completely false.
The bill, which would renew the 1994 law and add in new protections for LGBT and Native American victims of abuse, is on track for a Tuesday vote. It already has 62 cosponsors and is expected to pass with broad, bipartisan support.
But Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, is still imploring Republicans to oppose it and warned last week that it plans to count VAWA as a key vote on its scorecard. Some GOP lawmakers tout their score in their reelection campaigns as a testament to their conservative values.
“This week, the Senate is expected to vote on the deceptively named Violence Against Women Act of 2013,” reads the related post on Heritage Action’s website. It lists several reasons lawmakers should oppose the bill: it states that the new protections for LGBT and Native American victims are “sure to facilitate waste, fraud, and abuse,” and claims that the bill broadens the definition of domestic violence to include causing “emotional distress,” which it says would increase false allegations of abuse. In addition, Heritage suggests, VAWA hasn’t been all that effective anyway.