Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa blocked a vote on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act on Wednesday, according to The Hill, citing its inability to pass with Republican support.
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) attempted to get consent for a vote on the bill, which passed the House earlier this year, with the hope of securing its reauthorization before the end of the year.
"This bill is not a Democratic bill. It's not a Republican bill. This bill is a survivors' bill. It's written with the help of survivors who know what's needed in the real world," she said on the Senate floor.
But Ernst objected: "Why on earth would we introduce a piece of legislation that will not make it through this body? Shouldn't we be working together to find a path forward? We should continue to work on that, and I sincerely hope that by the end of this year, we can come together.”
The Republican lawmaker is introducing her own version of the bill, but The Hill reported that “Democrats were quick to note that, under Feinstein's amendment, Republicans could have offered Ernst's version of the VAWA reauthorization as a substitute amendment — meaning that, if successful, it would become the bill that got a final vote in the Senate.”
The National Rifle Association has opposed the House-passed measure, due to its closing of the “boyfriend” loophole. Under current law, spouses and formerly-married partners convicted of domestic abuse, or those under a restraining order, are unable to legally purchase a firearm. The House bill expands the ban to dating partners.