8 Senators Voted Against The Violence Against Women Act…Here Are Their Names And Contact Info!


Let’s talk about the Violence Against Women Act. You may remember it from the time Al Franken got adorably choked up while debating it on the Senate floor, or the time it provided programs and services to victims of domestic violence for 18 years in a row. The bill is up for reauthorization right now, which one might not think would be controversial. But it is!

The main controversy stems from recently added provisions designed to expand the bill’s reach to undocumented immigrants (via temporary visas for victims of abuse), Native Americans (by expanding reservations’ jurisdiction to crimes committed against Native Americans by non-Native Americans), and LGBT people. And contrary to its title, the bill doesn’t only protect women. Although VAWA enjoys bipartisan support, certain ass backwards Republicans don’t like its more un-American parts. The Senate voted on whether or not to open up debate on the reauthorization of the bill yesterday, and while it’s expected to pass, a full eight senators voted against it. They are:

Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Contact him!

Mike Lee (R-UT)

Contact him!

James Risch (R-ID)

Drop him a line!

Tim Scott (R-SC)

Shoot him an email!

Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Write him a letter!

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

That wasn’t nice!

Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Boo, Marco Rubio!

Rand Paul (R-KY)

Whatta jerk!

A lot of people are mad at Deb Fischer (R-NE) too, because she is the only woman in the Senate who didn’t co-sponsor the legislation. But she didn’t vote against it, so that’s something.

The bill has to pass the House next, so write to your House rep and tell them how you feel about it by phone or email. If you really want to go crazy, you can tweet at them as well. I realize I’m not the only blogger to cover this today, but I think it’s important, so I’m willing to risk being repetitive.

(Via Jezebel)

Photo: Mike Johanns

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    • http://twitter.com/KathrynDyan Katy Hearne

      I tried to send Cruz a message, being a Texan, but the site said this form was down. Hmm.. also, I’ve never seen an online forum like this that requires I choose a prefix. I almost put “Mr.”. Yes, I’m Mr. Katy. Or Pastor. OR Sister. I AM someone’s sister…

      • HS junior

        It was up for me, but maybe it was down when you tried because so many women were contacting him(a good thing!). I like how you can be “Dr.” or “Dr. and Mrs.” but not “Dr. and Mr.” I guess we can be career women or wives, but not both.

    • high school senior

      Dear Senator Paul,

      I’m a 17-year-old high school senior writing you this letter instead of doing my homework because I just learned that you voted against VAWA, one of the few important bills of recent years to have bipartisan support.

      I’m writing because I’m scared. It’s not this issue specifically of violence against women (although that’s of course a problem). It’s because you’re more concerned about denying illegal immigrants, gay people, Native Americans, and the poor their safety than protecting women in vulnerable situations.

      I’m scared because there was no “Women’s Issues” topic for me to choose when sending this message, but there was an option for “Abortion/Sanctity of Life.” I’m scared because in all likelihood the only person that’s going to read this is an intern my age, who will, if I’m lucky, pass the gist of it onto you.

      I’m scared because you’re going to interpret this message as coming from a New York liberal and not a young woman who could potentially be a victim of abuse, and who wants to know that her government is able to at least come together around the most basic issues of physical safety.

      So, Senator, if the bill hadn’t passed, who would have protected me if I was in an abusive relationship? Would it have been you? Could I have called you afterwards? Could my mother bring you to my house and show you my bruises? And what would have happened to my partner? Not an arrest, surely—why should the government get involved in a relationship between two adults?

      Senator Paul, I’ve never been in an abusive relationship. I’ve never even had a boyfriend. I like to think that I would be strong enough to leave a violent man by myself, but of course I don’t know, and I hope I don’t have to find out. I wish I could say I’m proud of your colleagues in the Senate for passing VAWA, but to be honest it’s the least I would expect.

      Senator, I know it would be useless to ask you to consider providing me and my friends with college educations or safety nets or decent healthcare. I know you and your colleagues are eons away from asking for fair taxes from the wealthy. But I would have thought that you would have been willing to protect the safety of your citizens from harm inflicted by others. Surely that, at least, transcends prejudice.

      We are not interested in your justifications. We are scared out of our minds but we are ready to act on our fear. Right now, I don’t have a vote. But when my friends and I turn 18, you can expect a bit of a shake-up.

    • HS junior

      My letter to Cruz:

      Senator Cruz,

      As a young, female citizen of Texas, one who you supposedly represent, it terrifies me that you would vote against considering the renewal of VAWA.

      Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has been providing services and programs to victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and rape, and stalking. It was always been supported by both democrats and republicans. VAWA has helped millions of women.

      So it worries me to see that 8 senators voted against considering renewing such a wonderful thing. It angers me that one of them is you, who represents my state.

      I’d like to remind you that you represent the entire state of Texas. Yes, this includes women, liberals, gays, non- Christians, victims of rape and domestic abuse, women who have had abortions, and many other types of people you may not like. You may be a republican, yes, but you represent more than that demographic.

      It bothers me that you are risking the lives and safety of millions because VAWA will be extended to help undocumented immigrants by providing them with visas, LGBT members, and Native Americans who have been attacked by non- Native Americans. You are putting personal and political wants above the needs of others.

      I am sorry other Texans voted for you. I am sorry they put you in a position you clearly are not ready for. But most of all, I’m sorry that you are too blinded by your own xenophobia to see the damage you may cause.

      Luckily for women everywhere, you and the other 7 senators who voted the same way you did don’t really matter. The Violence Against Women Act will be reauthorized whether you support it or not because even other republicans can see that the benefits outweigh the downsides you’ve imagined.

      But I still worry about you in power. You don’t seem to care about representing the state of Texas and all the people in it. You seem to care more about pleasing your party. And I fear that that mindset(party first, people second) will actually do some damage in the future.

      Being against violence is not a republican vs. democrat issue or a gay rights issue or even a women’s rights issue. It’s a requirement for being considered a decent human being.

      I hope one day you’ll see that.

    • Leah

      It’s hardly surprising that Rand Paul is on that list. I mean, this is the same person that called for Obama to resign because Beyonce lip-synced the National Anthem. Heaven forbid the man be rational.