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Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today announced eight conferees to negotiate a final deal on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which both chambers passed in varying forms this spring.
Boehner said in a statement that Reps. Sandy Adams (Fla.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) and House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (Texas) will represent House Republicans in haggling for an agreement. The major differences between the broader, bipartisan bill approved by the Senate in April and the House bill approved in May are added protections for the gay and transgender community and for immigrants and undocumented women.
“Completing work on legislation to renew and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act is critical in our efforts to combat domestic violence and sexual assault,” Boehner said. “The law has broad, bipartisan support in both chambers, and I’m announcing our negotiators today in the hopes that we can begin to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills. The House is ready and willing to begin those discussions, and I would urge Senate Democrats to come to the table so this critical legislation can be sent to the president for his signature as soon as possible.”
It’s unclear, however, when negotiations will happen, with Congress about to embark on a month-long recess and very few legislative days left before November’s elections. But it’s likely that the GOP wants to take the issue off the table, after weeks of getting attacked by Democrats as being weak on women’s rights. Women’s issues were a key piece of Democratic messaging, particular in the Democratic-controlled Senate, as the House struggled to approve its version of the legislation.
Boehner is the first leader the appoint his representatives to the negotiating panel. Senate Republicans blocked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from appointing conferees in May.