OnPolitics: Will the Violence Against Women Act get renewed?

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined at left by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaks about plans to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act which provides funding and grants for a variety of programs that tackle domestic abuse, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 7, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ORG XMIT: DCSA120 (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)

Add Democratic New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to the list of women history-makers. 

The Senate confirmed Haaland as Interior secretary on Monday, making her the first Native American to serve in a presidential Cabinet. The vote was 51-40, with all Democrats and a handful of Republicans voting to confirm her.

It’s Mabinty, bringing you the news to know. 

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A full-circle moment for Biden 

The Violence Against Women Act — landmark legislation championed by President Joe Biden that enshrined federal protections and support for domestic and sexual violence survivors — has been in a legislative limbo since it expired two years ago over disputes from some Republican lawmakers. 

Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. — one of the only Republicans publicly supporting the legislation — introduced the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 at the beginning of March, which is Women’s History Month. 

What’s in the bill? 

  • The new legislation would extend what previous versions established in terms of support and grants to groups working on issues related to domestic violence and sexual assault and prevention.
  • The proposed bill also enhances and expands victim services and improves housing access for victims and survivors, according to Nadler’s office.
  • It includes a provision to end immunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault and other abuses of “tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands.”

But the latest version of the legislation must still be approved by the Senate if it passes the House. It would face a 50-50 divided Senate with the looming prospect of the filibuster. Without at least 10 Senate Republican votes joining all 50 Democrats, the legislation will not make it to Biden’s desk. 

Flashback: Biden was the primary author and original sponsor when VAWA was first passed in 1994. He was then a Delaware senator, and the then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A ‘groundless’ election lawsuit 

Yes, the 2020 presidential election is over. But we’re still dealing with its aftermath. Case in point: Calling its lawsuit challenging 2020 election procedures “groundless” and “disingenuous,” a judge has ordered the Arizona Republican Party – and its lawyers – to pay the state thousands of dollars in legal fees.  

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah contended the GOP’s team acted in “bad faith” when it questioned the process for auditing voting machines and sought to delay certification of election results last November. 

“The public has a right to expect the Arizona Republican Party to conduct itself respectfully,” he wrote. “It has failed to do so in this case.”

The party and its attorneys must pay the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office $18,238, according to the order. That’s a fraction of nearly $152,000 the agency said it spent defending itself against a barrage of election fraud lawsuits challenging Biden’s Arizona win.

What else is going on today: 

  • GOP lawmaker John Katko urges Biden to declare ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day’
  • Facing political crisis, Andrew Cuomo counts on Black leaders for support
  • As signature collection ends, California heads toward recall of Gavin Newso
  • Russia, Iran engaged in covert influence campaigns to sway 2020 presidential election, US intelligence report says

Remember to continue to mask up and stay socially distant. —Mabinty

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