The Phony “War On Women” Continues

Earlier today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out this fundraising email:

First we learned that Mitt Romney wanted to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.

Now, there are news reports that Republicans in Congress will oppose re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Enough is enough! The Republican War on Women must be stopped NOW.

We must raise $17,581 more by midnight tonight to double-down on our Women’s Health Accountability Fund.

    Will you chip in $3 by midnight tonight to hold Republicans accountable for their War on Women?

Americans deserve to know that Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress are willing to put women’s lives in danger.

Personally, I would be fine with terminating the Violence Against Women Act. Violence against both men and women is a matter of state law, and I doubt whether the federal statute has had any effect on it, one way or the other. But if you suspected that this latest volley in the “war against women” was nothing but a fundraising hoax, you were right. Here are the actual facts surrounding re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, courtesy of the Senate Republicans:

The VAWA was originally passed in 1994 and has remained in effect through both Republican and Democrat Congresses. On March 12, 2012, the Judiciary Committee voted on the reauthorization of S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Act, introduced by Senator Leahy. Unlike the last reauthorization of VAWA in 2006, which passed by unanimous consent, S. 1925 contained provisions that had never appeared in past authorizations of VAWA. For these reasons, Sen. Grassley, the Ranking Member, offered a Republican substitute amendment to the Leahy bill. Republicans voted for the Grassley substitute and Democrats for the new Leahy version. The new Leahy version passed through committee, but Democrats chose not to schedule it for a vote.

Like the Leahy bill, the Grassley substitute provided over $400,000 [sic] in authorizations for grants to serve victims of domestic violence. However, it differed in very important ways from the Leahy bill.

The Leahy bill contains a number of new and controversial immigration provisions. For example, it expanded eligibility for and increased the number of visas available to certain individuals (whether in the U.S. or a foreign country) who may be helpful in the investigation of a crime. However, as the law is currently written, this visa category is subject to rampant fraud and misuse, e.g., sham marriages; false allegations of a crime. The Grassley substitute contained fraud-prevention measures. The Leahy bill also eliminated the requirement making these visa applicants ineligible for admission if they would become a public charge upon entry in the U.S. The Grassley substitute did not contain this new provision.

In a dramatic break from legal precedent, the Leahy bill also gave criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian individuals to Indian Tribes and allowed Tribes to expel non-Indians from privately held land. The Grassley amendment did not contain this provision.

By any objective measure, the Leahy Bill deliberately contains unserious legal provisions on issues such as immigration designed to create the false appearance of obstruction—an effort made all the more remarkable given that Senate Democrats opposed a better version of the legislation and haven’t scheduled theirs for a vote. With Senator Schumer’s open declaration that this is a hollow political ploy, it is impossible not to conclude this is a manufactured story designed to distract from the Senate Democrat Majority’s shameful record on the economy – including a staunch refusal to take action to lower gas prices, create jobs or even write a budget (this being the third year in a row they will have failed to offer a budget plan for the country).

Could the Democrats sink any lower? It is hard to see how, but I suspect that by November they will find a way.