WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that the GOP’s House leadership is considering a plan for moving forward with the Violence Against Women Act legislation.
Boehner did indicate that he may be open to discussions on taking up the Senate version of the bill that includes protections for gays and lesbians. The Senate bill passed Tuesday in a 78-22 vote.
“Our leadership [is] continuing to work with the committee of jurisdiction, looking at finding ways to deal with this legislation. We’re fully committed to doing everything we can to protect women in our society, and I expect that the House will act in a timely fashion in some way,” Boehner said, in a press briefing.
“No decision has been made about … whether we take up the Senate bill or our own version of the bill,” he added
Congress failed to reauthorize the Act last year, the first time since the original measure had been passed in 1994. Most opposition came from House Republicans, who claimed that provisions of the Act, which gave up-dated protection for LGBT, Native American and undocumented immigrant victims of domestic violence, were politically driven.
Congress adjourned in December with both the House and Senate versions of the legislation failing to gain passage.
A spokesperson for Vice-President Joe Biden’s office acknowledged Thursday that passage of the new version of the VAWA is one of his top priorities — Biden was one of the law’s original co-sponsors.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has taken the lead in negotiations, although he has faced criticism for failure in the last session to reach a compromise on the new provisions in the bill that were, and still are, the principal reasons that would bar passage by the GOP controlled House.