Spending on Domestic Violence becomes a Pawn in the Culture Wars

The Purity Police that are now omnipresent in the Republican Party are now balking at refunding programs aimed at helping victims of domestic violence because those victims include illegal immigrants and the GLBT community.  Just when I think my outrage may diminish, yet another item that primarily benefits women becomes a pawn in their culture wars.   Are they appealing to their base or just trying to get our minds off the slightly improving job situation and US economy?

The NYT scathing op ed has been lost in the war on women’s access to birth control waged by the Catholic Bishops.   This is something we should not overlook.

Even in the ultrapolarized atmosphere of Capitol Hill, it should be possible to secure broad bipartisan agreement on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law at the center of the nation’s efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The law’s renewal has strong backing from law enforcement and groups that work with victims, and earlier reauthorizations of the law, in 2000 and 2005, passed Congress with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

Yet not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor last week when the committee approved a well-crafted reauthorization bill introduced by its chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy, and Senator Michael Crapo, a Republican of Idaho, who is not on the committee.

The bill includes smart improvements aimed, for example, at encouraging effective enforcement of protective orders and reducing the national backlog of untested rape kits. The Republican opposition seems driven largely by an antigay, anti-immigrant agenda. The main sticking points seemed to be language in the bill to ensure that victims are not denied services because they are gay or transgender and a provision that would modestly expand the availability of special visas for undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence — a necessary step to encourage those victims to come forward.

Did you read that? Every, single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voting against the reauthorization.  Did you notice that it was reintroduced by a Republican and a Democrat?  How have we arrived at this point when every single bill is gone over with a microscope to ensure that select right wing single issue groups are appeased?

A lot of this effort seems to be due to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.  Frankly, I wonder what he’s trying to hide.

Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, not only wants to eliminate those provisions, but has his own version of the bill that contains “a huge reduction in authorized financing, and elimination of the Justice Department office devoted to administering the law and coordinating the nation’s response to domestic violence and sexual assaults.” Grassley’s funding cuts are above and beyond the $135 million reduction in funding from 2005 levels already contained in the bill the Judiciary Committee Republicans unanimously rejected.

This Act has served us well and deserves to be refunded, renewed and strengthened.

One-third of violent felons in state criminal courts are charged with domestic violence; 50 percent of these offenders have killed their victims. Many of these murders occur during the time when couples are waiting to go to trial, highlighting the critical need for efficiency in court proceedings. Similarly, providing special domestic violence courts and court-appointed advocates can save foster children nearly 7 and a half months in the court system; that means they will experience fewer out of home placements and have significantly improved educational performance.

The programs reauthorized in the Domestic Violence Judicial Support Act do just this, allowing courts to specialize, thereby making them more efficient, consistent and able to incorporate a stronger focus on rehabilitation of offenders and deterrence of repeat offenses. These programs are not only the right thing to do, they also save states money. For example, training judges in effective case oversight resulted in significant foster care savings for several states. A 2009 Department of Justice Study found that Kentucky saved $85 million in one year alone through the issuance of protection orders and the reduction in violence resulting from the issuance of such orders.

Sexual Orientation and immigration status should not be issues in criminal investigations involving violent crimes.  Please take time to ask your Senator to re-authorize funding of this very important Act that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994  that was strengthened during his administration and during the George W. Bush years.   It’s ridiculous to see that very important public health and safety issues have been plagued by attempts to appease angry, right wing ideological thugs.

13 Comments on “Spending on Domestic Violence becomes a Pawn in the Culture Wars”

  1. northwestrain says:

    War on women continues thanks to the helping hand of the GOP.

    • dakinikat says:

      They’re going to have to get 60 votes in the Senate. My hope is that Scott Brown is running scared and the Maine twins are going to be reasonable.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Here’s a great piece at Alternet:


    Listening to Santorum, it was sometimes difficult to discern whether he was running for president or village idiot. I’m not generally inclined to use those kinds of pejoratives, but what else can be said of a candidate who makes the kinds of claims made by Santorum from the CPAC podium?

    Liberals, he said, had preyed on the well-meaning “sentimentality” of Americans who want “to pass a beautiful Earth onto their children” by promoting the “radical idea” of “man-made global warming.” It was all a ruse, he said, to assert government control of choices that should be up to the individual — choices like what kind of light bulb to buy and what kind of car to drive. But that wasn’t even the idiotic part.

    Correlating two phenomena as if one caused the other, Santorum pointed out that among the nations of the world, the highest standard of living was enjoyed by those nations that used the most of the world’s energy resources. So, implied, if you want to keep your standard of living up, use more energy than you need. (Going on vacation? Be sure to turn on all the houselights before you leave and return America to greatness!)

    He contended that Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, failed “to accomplish what Reagan did” because of Britain’s nationalized health-care system, which encouraged “dependency” among the people.

    Visually, Santorum asserted his fecundity offensive, delivering his speech while surrounded by his wife, Karen, and six of their seven children. Yet instead of mentioning his opposition to birth control of any kind (he has said he believes it to be “wrong”), Santorum argued against the administration’s new rules — which will require contraception coverage by employer-provided health insurance — by calling contraceptives “things that only cost a few dollars.” Actually, a month’s supply of birth-control pills goes for about $50, a good chunk of change for, say, an orderly working in a Catholic (or any other kind of) hospital.

    Of course, like his fellow candidates — and nearly every other speaker who graced CPAC podium — Santorum characterized the Obama administration’s requirement that workers in Catholic hospitals and universities be granted access to contraception coverage as a violation of religious freedom, a claim that is less idiotic than it is demagogic.

    • NW Luna says:

      Sometime during Margaret Thatcher’s term, I took a health policy class. One topic studied was how Thatcher tried desperately to find another way for the UK to provide healthcare to its citizens. Unfortunately her task force found out that all other alternatives were more expensive, more inefficient, or both.

  3. dakinikat says:

    oooo … here’s another one

    5 Big Lies About the Phony ‘War on Religion’


  4. ralphb says:

    The Republicans are committing suicide with all this pandering to their uber-crazy base.

  5. dakinikat says:

    And this one has surprised me completely. Looks like Rickie Santorums a$$licking didn’t do its thing:


    • ralphb says:

      CPAC put in a new electronic voting system, to keep Ron Paul from winning. I’ll bet the vote was fixed.

  6. ralphb says:

    8,000 instances of abuse alleged in Archdiocese bankruptcy hearing

    Sealed documents filed in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy identify at least 8,000 instances of child sexual abuse and 100 alleged offenders – 75 of them priests – who have not previously been named by the archdiocese, a victims’ attorney said Thursday.

    Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said she did not have enough information to respond to the assertion, made by attorney Jeffrey Anderson during a pivotal hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley. Anderson represents about 350 of the 570 victim-survivors who have filed claims in the case.

    But Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests speculated that some are likely members of religious orders, such as Capuchins or Franciscans. Order officials do not typically make public the names of their accused members, and the archdiocese claims it is not responsible for them, though they have historically helped to staff its parishes and schools.

    “This is a public safety crisis, a child safety crisis that needs to be investigated,” Isely said at a news conference on the federal courthouse steps, surrounded by fellow survivors and reporters.

    “We need to know who they are and where they are. How can there be 8,000 crimes committed by over 100 offenders and there be no accountability?” he said.

    Sorry for the OT but this is shocking to me. The USCCB should clean up their own house before lecturing anyone else and this is a superb example.