Violence Against Women Act Moves in Senate, No Thanks to These 8 Men


On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted to once again take up the Violence Against Women Act, 85 to 8. Republicans in Congress have faced heavy criticism for stalling on reauthorizing the legislation in the last congressional session, but that appears not to have deterred them in 2013. Except for the freshmen, all the senators who voted against hearing debate on the reauthorized version of the Violence Against Women Act yesterday have voted it down before, and continue a legislative record voting against equal pay for women and limiting abortions in any way possible.

Here's everything you need to know about the eight senators who voted against reauthorizing VAWA.

1. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

Freshman Senator Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, has voted against all 11 votes called to hearing during his first month in Congress, including VAWA. This nay is his first vote outlining his stand on women's rights issues, and it aligns with his conservative public record. He is against church providing birth control pills and public funding of abortion, and he supports the partial birth ban and allowing companies to deny insuring birth control.

2. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)

Voting against the Violence Against Women Act for the second time, the former governor of Nebraska's congressional voting record is staunchly conservative. He voted against President Obama's Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and twice against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2010 and 2012 — both meant to equalize pay for women working in the same role as men.

He has also voted against the Preventive Services Coverage Requirements bill of 2009, which required health insurance providers to cover the minimum cost of specified services including breast cancer screenings and mammography. He has called partial birth abortions "barbaric" and vowed to defend marriage between only a man and a woman.

3. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah)

Ranked as highly by the Heritage Foundation as its current head Jim DeMint, rookie Sen. Lee has voted against every major women's and civil issues legislation, including the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization in 2012, reflecting a strict adherence to the Tea Party voting platform.

4. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

Another Tea Party favorite, Sen. Paul has repeatedly and brashly espoused his conservative social views under the umbrella of libertarian philosophies. Equating the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Soviet Politburo, he shares his voting record with others in this list. He has publicly stated that the "coarsening of our culture has led towards the violent death of 50 million unborn children."

5. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)

Voting against Violence Against Women Act reauthorization for the second time, Sen. Roberts' conservative voting record since 1997 has earned him a 0% rating by NARAL, a pro-choice group advocating for abortion rights. Sen. Roberts' voting record has included voting for defining unborn child as eligible for State Children's Health Insurance Program and voting against all federal funding for abortions.

6. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

The Republican front-runner for 2016 proudly campaigned on his anti-women's issues voting record. He has clarified his position as pro-life but "understanding of women's right as being law."

However, he opposed the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor based on her views on Roe v. Wade. He justified his previous vote against the Violence Against Women act by claiming, "[that] there’s no evidence that the increased funding will result in enhanced prosecutions or additional cases reported."

7. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.)

Freshman Sen. Scott took over former Sen. Jim DeMint's seat from South Carolina when the latter left to head the Heritage Foundation. Sen. Scott may also be taking over former Sen. DeMint's voting record.

Sen. Scott was part of a group of House Republicans that tried to remove some of the protections in the 2012 Violence Against Women Act. During his campaign, his opponent described Sen. Scott's record by saying as being "so consistently voted against women’s issues, and other than that he’s so consistently ignored us, that I’m not even sure if he knows that [women] have the right to vote."

8. Senator James Risch (R-Idaho)

Also voting against the Violence Against Women Act for the second time, Sen. Risch's women's issue voting record has been staunchly conservative and pro-life, even including a yes vote on recognizing the sanctity of life in public policy. He has voted similarly to the other senators in this list, against the Paycheck Fairness, Preventive Services Coverage, and Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay acts.