The House is expected to vote this week on a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
The debate is likely to be charged with presidential politics, as both parties maneuver for an advantage with women voters.
A reauthorization bill passed the Senate last month by a vote of 68-31, with unusual bipartisan support.
However, the House version omits protections for immigrant women, as well as for gay or transgender individuals. It also reduces protections for native American women on tribal lands.
“This bill is a move backwards,” Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said during the House Judiciary Committee consideration of the bill. He declared the revised version “a flat-out attack on women.”
Republicans, in turn, accused Democrats of hyper-partisanship.
“Violence against women doesn’t occur along party lines, and neither should reauthorization of these programs,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), committee chairman.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which lobbied on the Senate measure, sent a letter Smith and Conyers last week, expressing opposition to the omissions.
Many opponents to the measure call for support of an alternate version introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI). In keeping with the partisan approach the House has taken on this issue, Moore’s bill has 84 co-sponsors, all Democrats.
Among those advocating for the current version is a group called Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, or SAVE.
The organization’s web site urges passage, in part because the bill “includes reform to curb VAWA immigration fraud.”
Yet as the Huffington Post reported last week, an official with the group has a vested interest in lowering immigrant protections.
Natasha Spivack, SAVE treasurer, is the founder of a marriage service called Encounters International. At least one of the Russian brides using the service has sued the company, saying she was beaten by her American husband.
Spivack told the Huffington Post that the beating claims were false. Nevertheless, the plaintiff’s allegations were upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
SAVE is not currently registered as a lobby client in Washington.
The House bill, proposed last month by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) and co-sponsored by 39 Republicans and no Democrats, is too new to have reported lobbying activity.
The Senate measure, however, was lobbied by 41 organizations.
Organizations lobbying S.1925, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011:
American Association of University Women
American Bar Association
American Civil Liberties Union
American Council on Education
American Dental Association
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Federation of Teachers
American Immigration Lawyers Association
American Jewish Committee
American Medical Association
American Psychological Association
Amnesty International of The USA, Inc.
Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of The Fort Peck Reservation
County of Riverside
Darkness to Light
Daughters of Penelope
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Federation for American Immigration Reform (Fair)
Forest County Potawatomi Community Legal Dept
Foundation for Individual Rights In Education
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Heritage Action for America
Human Rights Campaign
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JFMC)
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA)
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
National Association for The Advancement of Colored People
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
National Association of Home Builders
National Council of Jewish Women
National Immigration Forum
National Indian Child Welfare Association
National Multi Housing Council, Inc.
Peace Officers Research Association of California
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
Pueblo of Acoma
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
Santa Clara Pueblo
United Southern and Eastern Tribes
While it’s unknown how much each organization spent on the legislation, there are some big overall lobbyists on the list. Here are the top overall lobby spenders for the first quarter of 2012:
|Lobby Organization||Q1 2012 Total|
|American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees||$720,000.00|
|National Association of Home Builders||$650,000.00|
|American Dental Association||$550,000.00|
|American Civil Liberties Union||$507,603.00|
|National Multi Housing Council, Inc.||$443,000.00|
|Friends Committee on National Legislation||$342,955.00|
|Human Rights Campaign||$340,000.00|
|American Federation of Teachers||$285,458.00|
|Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights||$268,292.63|
|American Bar Association||$250,000.00|
|American Psychological Association||$135,785.67|
|National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA)||$120,300.00|