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157 Republicans Just Opposed Renewing The Violence Act Against Women

On Thursday, the House passed legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, despite 157 Republicans voting against it amid pressure from the National Rifle Association.

The bill, which reauthorizes the landmark 1994 domestic violence law for another five years, easily passed. But the vast majority of Republicans opposed it because the NRA was pushing them to vote against it over its gun safety provisions and warning that a vote in favor of the bill would be reflected in their NRA rating.

Under current federal law, only people convicted of domestic violence offenses against spouses or family members can lose their gun rights. The VAWA would add people convicted of abusing their dating partners, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” It would also prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses from owning or buying firearms, as well as abusers subject to temporary protective orders.

The NRA has incredible sway over Republicans in Congress because of all the money it gives them ― and threatens to spend against them if they break from the group’s agenda. In the 2018 election cycle, it gave $690,950 to GOP congressional candidates versus $19,454 to Democratic congressional candidates. The gun rights organization spent nearly half a billion dollars in the 2016 election cycle, including $30 million on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign alone.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are working on their own as-yet-introduced VAWA legislation.

“There are a number of improvements in the House bill that I think should be in our version, including preserving improvements already made in the 2013 reauthorization,” Feinstein said in a statement. “I hope the Senate will move quickly.”

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