Wisconsin Congressmen Paul Ryan and Sean Duffy do not earn all that much praise from this quarter. But we are delighted to deliver it when it’s due. And both Republican representatives get high marks for joining Democrats in voting to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
The measure passed the House this week by a 286-38 margin, completing a long and difficult process in which, as Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan noted, “common sense has prevailed.”
There were a number of Republican members of the House who objected to strengthening VAWA, which now includes strong protections for same-sex couples, Native Americans, immigrants and college students.
We are disappointed that Wisconsin Republicans Reid Ribble of Sherwood, Tom Petri of Fond du Lac and Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls sided with opponents of the bill, as did Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.
But, along Ryan, Duffy and Pocan, Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, voted “yes,” as did Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison.
And, of course, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, the Milwaukee Democrat who championed reauthorization of the VAWA, cast an especially enthusiastic “yes” vote.
Moore was one of several House members who fought back when Republicans tried to pass a weaker version of VAWA. Along with Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., she introduced the Senate version of the bill, which was ultimately approved. In addition to extending protections to LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims, the Senate version — approved by senators 78-22 — provides for more rape kits, includes a national registry of forensic evidence from sexual assault cases, strengthens anti-trafficking statutes, provides for temporary housing for victims, and addresses domestic violence on college campuses.
In introducing the Senate bill on Feb. 26, Moore had criticized House Republicans: “Their bill title may say VAWA, but it is far from the Senate bill that works to protect all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking and passed with a strong bipartisan vote. Today I joined Representatives Conyers and Slaughter to introduce the real VAWA — the Senate VAWA.”
We’re pleased that the majority of the Wisconsin delegation, Democrats and Republicans, agreed with Moore and stood with her on the right side of history.
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