WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has passed and sent to President Barack Obama a far-reaching extension of the Violence Against Women Act.
The vote comes after House Republican leaders, cognizant of the need to improve their faltering image among women voters, accepted a Senate bill passed two weeks ago on a strong bipartisan vote.
The House vote to reauthorize the 1994 law that has set the standard for anti-violence programs came after lawmakers rejected a more limited approach from Republicans.
The law lapsed in 2011 and has been caught up in the partisan battles that now divide Congress. Last year, the House refused to go along with a Senate-passed bill that would have made clear that lesbians, gays, immigrants and Native American women should have equal access to anti-violence programs.
Statement from the President on the House Passage of the Violence Against Women Act (from the White House Press Office):
"I was pleased to see the House of Representatives come together and vote to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act. Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse. Today's vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the LGBT community. The bill also reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, providing critical support for both international and domestic victims of trafficking and helping ensure traffickers are brought to justice. I want to thank leaders from both parties - especially Leader Pelosi, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Senator Leahy - for everything they've done to make this happen. 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."