PORTLAND, Ore. — More than 170 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act earlier this week, including Washington's Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Oregon's Cliff Bentz.
The law has been around since 1994 when it was introduced by then-Sen. Joe Biden, and among other things, it provides money to prosecute domestic violence and other violent crimes against women.
It expired two years ago and was introduced in an updated version this week at the House of Representatives. The new version includes something called the "Boyfriend Loophole," which would prevent unmarried partners who are convicted of domestic violence from buying a gun. Right now, only people who have been convicted of violence against their spouse are barred from buying guns.
Republicans have said the loophole is too broad and can apply to too many situations.
KGW reached out to Rep. Herrera Beutler on why she voted against the bill, and this was her response:
"I’ve been a consistent supporter of the Violence Against Women Act and had already cosponsored a clean extension of this important legislation to provide funding certainty for its programs. Unfortunately, the version of VAWA Democrat leaders put forth this week contain overly-partisan provisions that will doom it in the Senate. Assisting survivors of assault and protecting against domestic violence are too important for political gamesmanship; we should cut through the politics and process and pass a version with strong bipartisan support now," she wrote.
KGW reached back out to Rep. Herrera Beutler's office to see what specifically in the bill led her to vote 'no,' and received this response from Craig Wheeler, her communications director:
"This version of VAWA was given zero hearings, so there was no attempt to gain bipartisan consensus around the contentious provisions relating to conscience exemptions for churches and other religious organizations that want to compete for federal funds to operate shelters in accordance with their beliefs, and lack of due process for suspending Second Amendment rights."
The new version of the law also includes protections for people in the LGBTQ community and undocumented immigrants.
KGW has not yet heard back from Rep. Bentz.
The VAWA is heading to the Senate next, according to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.