Connecticut lawmakers lose battle over domestic violence bill

The House of Representatives voted 222-205 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act Wednesday without a single vote from the Connecticut delegation.

That all-Democratic delegation prefers a bill the Senate approved last month that would extend protections to the gay and transgender communities. The Senate bill would also provide temporary visas to illegal immigrants who suffer domestic violence so their cases could be prosecuted and tried.

“It’s a Republican attempt to play on fears of illegal immigrants and fears of the LGTB community,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, of the House bill.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D- 3rd District, said Republicans should be “called out” for rolling back the Violence Against Women Act, which since its inception in 1994 has increased prosecutions of domestic violence, rape and stalking.

Republicans say their bill to reauthorize the act is tough and fair.

Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Fla., the sponsor of the House bill and a victim of domestic violence, accused Democrats of promoting a “phony war on women.”

The House and Senate will now try to hammer out a final bill.

Himes said he hopes Senate negotiators “will substantially moderate” the House-approved legislation.