Florida's senators split their votes on the Violence Against Women Act, with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voting to extend it, and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio voting against it. The bill passed 68-31. The 31 no votes came from Republican men. All of the Republican women in the Senate voted for the legislation.
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. But like everything this year, it's caught up in politics.
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 for being insensitive to women _ complain such provisions are unneeded and are reluctant to go along.
Rubio said today he would vote for the act as originally written, and says he hopes he "can vote for it once it comes out of the House-Senate conference committee." Perhaps feeling the heat, he wrote an extensive defense of his votes on Thursday, including the amendments, on his webpage. It can be found here: