After failing to approve a Republican version of the legislation, the House voted Tuesday to approve the version of a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act that passed the Senate earlier this month.
The House voted 286 to 138 in favor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, with 87 Republicans joining with 199 Democrats in voting to approve the bill.
The Senate version of the bill was opposed by some conservative House members because it expands protection to gays and lesbians and Native American women.
While the Republican leadership offered a substitute version of the bill that stripped out those protections, the amendment failed by a vote of 166 to 257.
All but two Democrats voted against the Republican version of the legislation along with 60 members of the GOP.
President Barack Obama said he was pleased to see lawmakers come together and vote to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act, which he said has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse.
"Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk," Obama said in a statement.
The House failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act last year due in part to objections to provisions in the Senate bill that expanded protection to undocumented immigrants.
The version of the bill passed by the House and Senate does not include the provision for undocumented immigrants, although Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., lead author of the bill, has pledged to include the provision in immigration reform legislation.
The original Violence Against Women Act, drafted by then-Sen. Joe Biden, was passed in 1994 and has been reauthorized several times since then.
"Eighteen years ago, I envisioned a world where women could live free from violence and abuse," Biden, now Vice President, said in a statement. "Since VAWA first passed in 1994, we have seen a 64% reduction in domestic violence."
He added, "I am pleased that this progress will continue, with new tools for cops and prosecutors to hold abusers and rapists accountable, and more support for all victims of these crimes."
by RTT Staff Writer
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