In between practicing for his speech that will follow President Obama's State of the Union Address, Marco Rubio went on the floor of the Senate to join 21 of his GOP colleagues — all men — in voting against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was overwhelmingly approved, 78-22.
The original VAWA passed in 1994, but expired in 2011. Last year both the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate passed renewal bills, but they were unable to reach a compromise. The new Senate bill expands protections for gays, undocumented immigrants, and Native American women who suffer from domestic abuse.
The Senate bill was sponsored by a Republican, Idaho's Mike Crapo, and received 23 GOP votes.
In a statement, Rubio explained his No vote.
Unfortunately, I could not support the final, entire legislation that contains new provisions that could have potentially adverse consequences. Specifically, this bill would mandate the diversion of a portion of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs, although there's no evidence to suggest this shift will result in a greater number of convictions. These funding decisions should be left up to the state-based coalitions that understand local needs best, but instead this new legislation would put those decisions into the hands of distant Washington bureaucrats in the Department of Justice. Additionally, I have concerns regarding the conferring of criminal jurisdiction to some Indian tribal governments over all persons in Indian country, including non-Indians.