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Senators Cantwell, Murray fight to save women’s bill

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell says women in the Senate are "mad and tired" of a new Republican effort to kill a domestic violence program. (AP file photo)

A fight over renewal of a longtime domestic violence
program in the U.S. Senate is turning into a battle of the
sexes, and Washington’s two female senators are taking
center stage.

“I am furious,” Democrat Maria Cantwell told the New York Times.
“We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”

Conservatives are seeking to kill the Violence Against
Women Act, a longstanding measure that would increase
funding and expand the reach of domestic violence

A group of female Senate Democrats led by Cantwell and
fellow Washington senator Patty Murray marched Thursday to
the Capitol to protest what they say is just the latest in
an all out assault on women’s rights. It follows a
rancorous battle over President Obama’s contraception
funding mandate.

“Many of us women have come to the floor over the last few
weeks to fight back against attempts to turn back the
clock when it comes to women’s health care. I’m
disappointed these issues kept coming up, but I know I
stand with millions of men and women across America who
remain ready to defend the gains we’ve made over the last
50 years,” Murray said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The legislation would continue funding for a number of
programs such as battered women’s shelters and free legal
assistance. It would also expand the legal definition of
violence against women to include stalking and and provide
more support for law enforcement and courts to assist

But conservatives oppose parts including expansion of
protection for same-sex couples and allowing temporary
visas for battered illegal immigrants, arguing Democrats
are trying to broadly stretch beyond the intention of the
legislation, which has previously enjoyed bipartisan
support since it was enacted in 1994.

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