House Republicans who voted against the final version of the Violence Against Women Act have been sending statements to their constituents boasting about their votes…for the Violence Against Women Act.
“I supported this legislation because I know how important it is to empower women in difficult situations,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in a statement. “If a woman is at risk, she should know that she has a place to turn for support and assistance. I supported VAWA in 2005, 2012, and today I voted in support of the House version to see that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have access to the resources and protection when they need it the most.”
“I am pleased to support efforts to protect all women in this country from domestic abuse and other forms of violence,” said Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.
These Republicans have argued that their statements are not misleading because they did vote for a version of VAWA: The GOP version, which stripped out the expanded protections for LGBT, illegal immigrant, and Native American women, and failed to pass the House.
Aides to some of those lawmakers have pushed back on the idea they were being deceptive. Walberg spokeswoman Sarah Kuziomko told MLive.com that Walberg’s statement was “in support of the version of the Violence Against Women Act that included the conscience protection clause,” referring to the GOP proposal that failed.
A Johnson spokesman told HuffPost that the congressman voted against the VAWA bill that passed because it was a “politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference.”
Those Republicans want to protect themselves from right-wing challengers, who might invoke vote scorecards from groups like Heritage Action and the Club For Growth to call into question their conservative credentials. (Conservatives objected to expanded protections for gays and illegal immigrants, and questioned the constitutionality of tribal land provisions.) But the GOP lawmakers also don’t want their constituents to know they ultimately voted against passage of legislation aimed at helping women who are victims of domestic violence and rape.
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.MORE JILLIAN RAYFIELD.