WASHINGTON — House Republicans determined to show women voters that they have their interests at heart on Wednesday announced plans to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the federal government’s main domestic violence program.
The GOP proposal set up a possible showdown with a somewhat different version that Senate Democrats have advanced and has been pending for several weeks. The Senate began debate Wednesday on the Democratic version as talks continued.
VAWA, first enacted in 1994, has a history of being bipartisan and noncontroversial, but that’s changed this election year. Democrats have accused Republicans of waging a war on women, and Republicans, led by presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have responded by emphasizing their sensitivity to women’s issues.
The Senate bill has 61 sponsors, including eight Republicans, but parts of it have met resistance from others in the GOP.