The odd couple: Barr and Yarmuth were only Kentuckians to vote for Violence Against Women Act reauthorization

03/01/2013 12:41 PM

Republican Andy Barr and Democrat John Yarmuth were the only members of Kentucky’s federal delegation to vote for the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday.

The Violence Against Women Act is meant to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The last version of the measure expired two years ago. But by passing through the U.S. House by a vote of 286-138, the measure will be renewed.

Barr was among 87 House Republicans to support the bill as they joined 199 Democrats. He said in a statement to Pure Politics:

“Despite my reservations about the Senate bill, I felt it was important to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and provide critical funding for shelters in my district. Prosecutors tell me that, not only will it ensure that battered women will have resources available to escape and survive abusive relationships, the act provides resources for personnel and investigations to help them do their job. I believe the streamlining reforms put forward in the House substitute are important, and I will continue to work to find opportunities to eliminate duplication and waste and provide greater local control.”

Earlier this month, the Senate passed the reauthorization act by a vote of 78 to 22. Two of those no votes from Kentucky U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

Yarmuth has said he believes many Republicans have a problem with the legislation because of the new language extending protections to tribal members, immigrants, and members of the LGBT community.

But in his press release yesterday, Yarmuth said those new provisions strengthen the legislation.

“Today’s vote for a comprehensive Violence Against Women Act is a major victory and an encouraging sign of bipartisanship on an issue vital to millions of Americans,” Yarmuth said. “All victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Louisville and across our nation can now share in the certainty that they will be able to seek the support they need and the justice they deserve.”


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