Congressman Cline on Thursday joined most Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote against an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act.
The legislation passed easily, 263 to 158, but the divided vote came on what was once a broadly bipartisan measure first passed in 1994. In recent years, partisan rancor over efforts to expand the protections of the legislation have clouded efforts to renew it, and this year, the divide was over gun control.
The provisions would close the so-called boyfriend loophole and bar those under a restraining order or who were convicted of abusing, assaulting or stalking a domestic partner from buying guns. The [National Rifle Association] seized on the new measures and warned Congress that it would track and publish how lawmakers voted, hoping to intimidate Republicans and Democrats in Republican-leaning districts.
[The boyfriend loophole means stalkers and current or former boyfriends or dating partners can still buy and own a gun, even if they’ve been convicted of a domestic violence crime.]
“Do not let the N.R.A. bully you,” Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, urged her colleagues before the vote, noting that her recently deceased husband, former Representative John Dingell Jr., also a Democrat, was a member of the organization.
Republicans had advocated a clean one-year extension of the current law, which expired in February, arguing that new elements of the legislation were controversial and overreached — in particular, the gun restrictions and language offering additional protections to transgender people.
Cline issued a statement trying to explain his vote against the measure:
H.R. 1585 preconditions grant funding on policies that revictimize women and would curtail the vital tools used by prosecutors and law enforcement to protect victims from harm. It rolls back existing trafficking protections under a grant program intended to help child victims, and it fails to provide religious hiring exemptions for faith-based grant recipients.
These are just a few of the reasons I cannot support this bill, which includes provisions which could actually undermine women’s safety.
Cline provided no evidence to support these claims. I have contacted him asking for the evidence, and will post any response I get.
Cline, who dutifully supports the NRA’s position on every issue, has in turn been generously supported by the the NRA as a candidate for House of Delegates and for Congress.