|Recent Senate Votes|
|Gender-based Violence Prevention – Substitute Amendment – Vote Rejected (34-65, 1 Not Voting)
The Senate began action last week on its renewed effort to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a panoply of initiatives designed to combat such crimes as domestic violence and sexual assault and to provide assistance to state and local law enforcement. Both chambers of Congress passed reauthorization bills last year, but were never able to resolve various differences. One major hurdle, the creation of new visas for immigrant victims of domestic violence, has been stripped from this years version of the Senate bill. The other large sticking point, however, remains – Senate language that would give Indian tribes expanded police and judicial jurisdiction over non-Indian sex offenders who commit crimes on tribal land. Senate proponents contend the provision is a practical response to the reality that the nearest law enforcement authorities are often located hours away from tribal lands, making it very difficult to adequately police non-Indian offenders. Opponents are wary of potential constitutional issues raised by the provision. Regardless, the bill looks to be sailing toward passage in the Senate. The motion to proceed was agreed to by an overwhelming 85-8 margin (Roll Call Number 12) last Monday, February 4. Several days later, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, offered a substitute bill supported by his conference. The Grassley substitute made several changes, including to the Indian language. Its margin of defeat – 34 to 65, with ten Republicans joining all Democrats and independents – indicates the strength of the bills support. The president has not taken a position on the current bill, though he supported last years Senate bill. The House has not yet taken action to move a reauthorization.
|Recent House Votes|
|Budget Submission Requirement – Final Passage – Vote Passed (253-167, 11 Not Voting)
House Republican leadership has vowed to complete a budget document this year that achieves balance within a decade. Last week the House passed a bill that would hold the President to the same requirement. The Require a PLAN Act would mandate that, if President Obamas FY2014 budget – which, the bills findings section notes, is expected to be (and indeed was) late – does not achieve balance at any point within its ten-year window, a new budget that does project balance must be submitted by April 1. The bill is not expected to be taken up by the Senate, but – along with the No Budget, No Pay Act that was recently signed into law – it does allow House Republicans to position themselves as the group in Washington most concerned with taming the deficit.
| Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 – S.47
The Senate will continue debate on the bill starting Monday, February 11. Six debates are scheduled for consideration including one by Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn that would remove the Indian tribal court provision. Final passage is expected later in the week.
Federal civilian workers have been living under a pay freeze for several years will be able to receive a 0.5 percent cost of living adjustment upon expiration of the current Continuing Resolution governing federal spending, which runs through March 27. This bill would continue the pay freeze through the end of 2013.
This bill would clarify that houses of worship are eligible for certain disaster relief and emergency assistance on terms equal to other eligible private nonprofit facilities.
February 12, 2013
Bennet, Udall, and Perlmutter Watch 2-11-13: Recent Votes