BY WILLIAM DOUGLAS, MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS
WASHINGTON -- Unfazed by a White House veto threat, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved anti-domestic violence legislation that opponents charge doesn’t sufficiently protect gay, lesbian, transgender people, Native Americans and immigrants.
On a 222-205 vote, the House passed a GOP-sponsored bill to renew the Violence Against Women Act, an 18-year-old law written by then-Sen. Joe Biden that dedicates federal resources to assist victims of domestic violence.
Wednesday’s vote puts the House at odds once again with the Democratic-controlled Senate, which approved its version of the bill last month on a bipartisan 68-31 vote. The Senate bill renews the act for five years, authorizes $659.3 million in annual spending and contains measures to help victims of sexual assault, improve emergency housing services for victims and consolidate some grant programs to make them more efficient.
It also contains provisions intended to: encourage undocumented immigrants to help law enforcement identify domestic abuse victims; assure protections for gays, lesbians and transgender people, among others; and give tribal courts increased authority to prosecute incidents of domestic violence committed by non-Native Americans in Native American territories.