House GOP Approves Funding to Defend DOMA, While Blocking Sandy Relief, Violence Against Women Act
Here are the priorities of House Republicans:
Despite a late-stage intervention by Vice President Joe Biden, House Republican leaders failed to advance the Senate's 2012 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, an embattled bill that would have extended domestic violence protections to 30 million LGBT individuals, undocumented immigrants and Native American women.
"The House leadership would not bring it up, just like they wouldn't bring up funding for Sandy [hurricane damage] last night," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a key backer of the Senate version of the bill, in an interview with HuffPost. "I think they are still so kowtowing to the extreme on the right that they're not even listening to the moderates, and particularly the women, in their caucus who are saying they support this."
A GOP source told The Huffington Post that, during a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference, lawmakers gave a green light to including language in the 113th Congress rules package that authorizes the House legal team, known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), to keep paying outside counsel to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. The proposed House rules package also states that BLAG continues to "speak for" the House in its defense of DOMA...
...A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday slammed Republicans for taking "the extraordinary measure" of using the opening day rules package of the new Congress to authorize themselves to keep defending DOMA.
"Today, House Republicans will send a clear message to LGBT families: their fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future," said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.
Hammill also noted that the rules package "for the first time" explicitly states that BLAG speaks for the full House on DOMA matters -- something he said is definitely not the case.