Senate OKs renewing Violence Against Women Act

By LAURIE KELLMAN,Associated Press Updated at 2012-04-26 20:56:43 +0000

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has passed a bill to renew the government's main domestic violence program.

The 68-31 vote to renew and expand the Violence Against Women Act sends the matter to the House, which is writing its own version.

The 1994 law is designed to protect women and children from abuse, and historically has been without controversy. But this election year, gender politics roiled the debate for weeks.

Democrats accused Republicans standing in the way and waging a "war against women."

But Republicans never tried to block the measure. Instead they proposed removing specific references to protecting gays, lesbian and transgender people, and capping the number of visas for battered immigrants.