U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said the bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act is “fatally flawed,” which led him to vote against it.
Johnson issued a statement today, after the legislation was passed in the Senate with a 78-22 vote yesterday. In it, he said Senate Democrats turned a non-controversial piece of legislation “into a divisive and highly partisan bill.”
“By including an unconstitutional expansion of tribal authority and introducing a bill before the Congressional Budget Office could review it to estimate its cost, Senate Democrats made it impossible for me to support a bill covering an issue I would like to address,” Johnson said in his statement. “Most analysts believe it would add more than $2 billion to the deficit.”
The legislation received support from all Senate Democrats and every female senator, including Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.
The bill authorizes $659 million over five years for VAWA programs. It also includes new protections for LGBT and Native American victims of domestic violence. Since VAWA was created in 1994, it has bolstered protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
The expansion Johnson said was unconstitutional is one that would allow tribal courts to prosecute men who aren’t Native Americans if they are accused of abusing a Native American woman on a reservation.