New York Daily News columnist S.E. Cuppresponded to the House’s decision to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act today on Now with Alex Wagner, calling it “an example of federal overreach and redundancy.”
"If I came to you and I said, ‘I have this new piece of legislation, and I’m going to call it the Stealing From Men Act,’ you’d say, ‘That’s preposterous. Stealing from men is a crime in all 50 states.’ So is violence against women. [It’s] a crime in all 50 states," Cupp argued, adding that the new version of VAWA was bizarre because it also included protections for men.
"It’s redundant," Cupp added. "Violence against men and women is already a crime." (Video after the jump.)
However, VAWA’s sole purpose is not to criminalize violence against women.
The Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994 and provided taxpayer money for protection of domestic abuse victims and other programs and services to support victims, including community violence prevention programs, funding for victim assistance services such as rape crisis centers and hotlines, and legal aid for survivors of violence. The Act also allocates money to investigate and prosecute violent crimes against women.
The bill has largely been seen as a bipartisan issue, and was reauthorized by Congress in 2000 and again in 2005, but has been a point of contention in the House this year when theSenate’s version expanded those protections to same-sex couples, illegal immigrants, and those living on Native American tribal lands.
(For more about the effects of VAWA and Native American lands, watch this interview between Melissa Harris-Perry and Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, from last month.)
House Republicans made slight amendments to their version of VAWA before yesterday’s vote in an attempt to address concerns from women’s groups, but as National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill told Politico, “It doesn’t come with a country mile of being enough.”
Despite the criticism and the White House’s threat to veto the Republican’s version of VAWA, the House passed the bill with a vote of 222-205.
"I think that when we have a whole new set of circumstances where women in great peril aren’t being abused on a daily basis, and women in Congress themselves are coming forward and saying, ‘We are not protected. I am not getting what i need,’ to vote against this is shameful," said author and Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead in response to Cupp’s comments about VAWA.