Hastert Rule, strike three: House passes Senate’s Violence Against Women Act bill with majority of Republicans opposed

posted at 1:41 pm on February 28, 2013 by Allahpundit

286-138, with all 199 Democrats voting yes and all 138 no votes coming from the GOP. That makes three times, the first being the fiscal cliff and the second being the Sandy relief bill, that Boehner’s pushed something through the House with most of his own caucus opposed.

How’d we get here? Most of the GOP caucus opposed the Senate version of VAWA for various reasons, in part because it granted tribal courts on Native American reservations jurisdiction over non-Native American men, a move of questionable constitutionality. Enter Eric Cantor, who helped draft a new House version of the bill that would have compromised on tribal jurisdiction. To placate opponents of the Senate bill, Cantor’s House bill would be voted on first. Only if that failed would the Senate bill get a vote. It failed — 166-257, with 60 Republicans joining 197 Democrats to shoot it down — which means it was time for the Senate version to get a shot. Straightforward, right? Well, via DrewM, not exactly:

House leaders reached the decision to pitch the Senate bill late Tuesday, only once it became clear a House version of the measure could not pass. At a meeting earlier in the evening among members of the Whip team, which counts votes, the contingency of the Senate bill coming to the floor was not even raised.

“You would have never thought that had the slightest possibility of happening based on the discussions,” one House Republican aide familiar with the meeting said. The member of Congress for whom the aide works only learned that the House would vote on the Senate version of VAWA later — from Politico.

“I think members are more upset over the process than they are over the Senate bill itself,” the aide added.

But what about Cantor? He tried to get a House bill through in lieu of the Senate bill. He even voted no on the Senate bill this morning. If anyone went to the mat for House Republicans on this, it was him, right? Right?

House majority leader Eric Cantor is increasingly frustrated with a group of House Republicans who are working against the leadership, and he’s not afraid of voicing his dismay.

In a closed-door conference meeting on Wednesday, Cantor told one GOP member that if they blocked the Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) from coming to the floor, they’d cause “civil war” in the ranks.

Cantor’s comment irked some Republican aides, who told National Review Online that such strong language is inappropriate.

In the end, thanks to pressure from Cantor, only nine Republicans voted against bringing the Senate bill to the floor. For your exit question, I’ll leave you with this, from Politico’s Jonathan Martin:

Update: Via Mediaite, here’s Mark Levin making the case against the Senate bill that’ll soon become law.


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