Republicans Blink Again; House Vote Does Violence to Federalism

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Republicans Blink Again; House Vote Does Violence to Federalism


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Republicans have once again blinked in a contest with Democrats. This time, it wasn't the budget. The GOP has now embraced an expansion of government that violates the principles of federalism out of a fear of being labeled the anti-women party.

The GOP-dominated House rolled over Thursday with an overwhelming 238-168 vote in favor of a radically expanded Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act. Eighty-seven weak-kneed Republicans were cowed by the bill's title into approving special treatment for lesbian, bisexual and transgendered women. The bill also grants more visas to illegal immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse and gives Indian tribal authorities jurisdiction over non-Indians accused of domestic violence within the borders of a reservation - a provision which raises serious constitutional questions.

The measure, which now heads to President Obama for his signature, even expands the definition of domestic violence to include causing emotional distress or using unpleasant speech. All this is an obvious political ploy. Democrats are recycling the Republican war on women theme they used during the November elections, and they hope it will win for them the keys to the House in 2014.

Violence against women is deplorable, without exception. So, too, is violence against men. Domestic violence and similar reprehensible acts are already crimes under state law that should be vigorously enforced. Republicans are too afraid of the political consequences to pause and ask what business the federal government has in getting involved in a law enforcement matter that states are perfectly capable of handling on their own. …

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