White House threatens veto of GOP Violence Against Women Act

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The White House threatened to veto the House version of the Violence Against Women Act on Tuesday, arguing that it weakens protections for Native American women and members of the gay and lesbian community, as well as immigrants.

The House GOP bill, which is up for a vote Wednesday, cuts several provisions in the Senate-passed version, including one that would specifically prohibit discrimination against LGBT victims in federal grant programs.

“No sexual-assault or domestic-violence victim should be beaten, hurt, or killed because they could not access needed support, assistance, and protection,” the Office of Management and Budget said in its release.

The White House takes issue with the bill’s failure to allow tribal authorities to have criminal jurisdiction over “certain protection orders” for non-Native Americans “given that three out of five Native-American women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.”

The bill “takes direct aim at immigrant victims” by allowing abusers to be notified when a victim files a petition for relief under the law, and eliminating a path to citizenship for victims of torture, rape and domestic violence who are cooperating with law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, the White House said.

“These proposals senselessly remove existing legal protections, undermine VAWA’s core purpose of protecting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, frustrate important law enforcement objectives, and jeopardize victims by placing them directly in harm’s way,” the OMB argued.

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