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Violence Against Women Act Held Up In Fiscal Cliff Deal

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Add the Violence Against Women Act and a Hurricane Sandy relief bill to the list of things that remain a low priority for Congress.

There is obviously a monetary cost to authorizing these bills, but more importantly there are human costs to not.

The bill to support disaster victims would have been to the tune of $60 billion. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would have been the main recipients of this relief.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, Congress allocated over $50 billion to disaster relief within 10 days of the disaster. Acording to Bloomberg Businessweek it's been over two months since Hurricane Sandy and the victims are likely to experience a cold few months ahead.

Despite getting bipartisan approval from the Senate (68-31), the Violence Against Women Act failed to pass the Republican House. In fact, the House Republicans didn't even bring the bill to the floor.

The bill failed in the House after the bill was changed to include gay, Native American and illegal immigrant victims of domestic abuse. House Republicans claimed that the Democrats were changing "the goal post" too often for them to agree to sign the bill.

For VAWA, the law has been reauthorized every year since 1994 without much thought, but this year the law was not signed despite a Senate that made historical gains in representation among women this past election cycle.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has reported that they receive 22,000 calls every month. Since the implmentation of VAWA in 1994, domestic abuse has fallen by 60 percent.