Congress had a lengthy to-do list as the end of the year approached, with a series of measures that needed action before 2013 began. Some of the items passed (a fiscal agreement, a temporary farm bill), while others didn't (relief funding for victims of Hurricane Sandy).
And then there's the Violence Against Women Act, which was supposed to be one of the year's easy ones. It wasn't.
Back in April, the Senate approved VAWA reauthorization fairly easily, with a 68 to 31 vote. The bill was co-written by a liberal Democrat (Vermont's Pat Leahy) and a conservative Republican (Idaho's Mike Crapo), and seemed on track to be reauthorized without much of a fuss, just as it was in 2000 and 2005.
But House Republicans insisted the bill is too supportive of immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans -- and they'd rather let the law expire than approve a slightly expanded proposal. Vice President Biden, who helped write the original law, tried to persuade House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to keep the law alive, but the efforts didn't go anywhere.
And so, for the first time since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act is no more.
The GOP really does like that war against women. And against immigrants, the LGBT community and Native Americans. Alternatively, they may simply regard something with a name such as the Violence Against Women Act too horrible for words. That's probably the reason the law should have been called something else, because it's not some specifically earmarked special law to benefit women but a law which covered certain types of violence other laws ignored.
I'm hopeful that the new Congress can resuscitate this law because it is needed.