A few hours ago, the Senate - for the second time in six months, voted to pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act - by a vote of 78-22. All 22 votes came from Republican men. Sen. Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Vice President Biden - the original author of the VAWA in 1994, have called on the Republican House to swiftly pass it and get it to the president's desk.
The question is, will the Republican leadership in the House follow the direction of 78 senators from both parties, or will the succumb to the 22 Teabaggers? Among the supporters of violence are such luminaries as the Republican leader of the Senate, the newly branded Republican Savior Marco Rubio and Tea Party's face Rand Paul.
Right now, the lead negotiator for the House (just incidentally, will someone please tell me just what is so 'negotiable' about domestic, dating or sexual violence?), Majority Leader Eric Cantor, seem to be hiding behind the fact that the Senate passed law dares to protect native American women. Cantor and his fellow anti-women Republicans don't want native American tribal courts to be able to prosecute non-native perpetrators. I suppose they think that men who go into tribal lands and abuse women should instead be prosecuted for trespassing.
The good news is that if the House Republican leadership decides to put the Senate bill up for a vote, it will pass easily. 17 Republican Representatives have written to Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor urging them to bring the bill to a swift passage - by themselves enough Republican votes to pass it if needed with unanimous Democratic support.
So, one might ask, what's the hold up? It is already too late. VAWA has already been allowed to expire, and the clock is ticking as every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted - and those victims are currently left without federal protections. Enough votes exist in the House to proceed with the Senate's bill and get it to the president's desk right now.
Women's rights in this country have come a long way. But not long enough - not nearly enough when there are 22 United States senators who feel more compelled to protect the perpetrators of sexual violence than its victims. Not nearly enough when the party in control of the House of Representatives is still thinking about whether or not it should even vote on a law protecting against domestic violence.
The Republican War on Women is alive and well. For all the pontification about the "stupid party" and its rhetoric against women, there seems to be no attempt to rein in the party's actual position on women - positions far more destructive to women than to the Republican party. Bobby Jindal had it wrong. The Republican party's problem isn't that it's the stupid party. It's that it is the party of the socioeconomic dynamic devised for the middle ages.