The Senate voted 68-31 yesterday to renew the Violence Against Women Act, and as predicted, the vote is factoring into election year politics. The Florida Democratic Party is using it to raise money, by pointing out that Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted for it and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio did not.
"At least Florida has one senator who stands for women," the party wrote in its fundraising solicitation. "While Senator Bill Nelson voted yes, Senator Marco Rubio voted "NO" last night on the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that protects women and families from violent crimes, domestic abuse and rape."
Democrats are asking for $18 donations to symbolize every year the "has been helping women overcome abuse." The 18-year-old federal law created a national strategy to prevent domestic violence against women and pours resources into efforts to help victims of domestic violence.
The original act passed in 1994 with bipartisan support, but some opponents are trying to block the legislation because they fear it would broaden American Indian tribal rights and has too many protections for gay and illegal immigrant victims of violence. Conservative Republicans -- already feeling political heat this election year for being insensitive to women -- complain such provisions are unneeded.
The 31 no votes in the Senate came from Republican men. All of the Republican women in the Senate voted for the legislation. Rubio offered this explanation on his blog for his vote, saying he would vote for the legislation as written, but not as amended.