WASHINGTON — Amid a political fight over women's issues, Vice President Biden on Friday pushed for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, warning the GOP against blocking renewal of the landmark law.
A leader in pushing for the creation of the initial Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Biden said that the effort by some House Republicans to prevent a renewal of the 1994 law would send a negative message about the "respect" and protection offered to women by the federal government.
"What would it say to our daughters, our wives, our mothers about whether or not they're entitled to respect and whether or not their government believes they're entitled to be free of violence?" said Biden, an original architect of the law, at the annual conference of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA).
The reauthorization passed the Senate last month (with 31 Republicans voting against it), but has yet to be approved by the House. Biden urged about 400 YWCA conference attendees Friday to lobby for the lower chamber to adopt an unchanged — "Real McCoy" — version of the legislation.
Citing the strides made in changing attitudes about domestic abuse and sexual assault, Biden asked with characteristic incredulity why the "other team" was resisting passage.
"If it's based on results, why are we even talking about this?" he said to applause from the crowd.
Some Republicans have opposed what they call the "big government" implications of VAWA, which includes new add-ons like increased protections for victims of domestic violence in the LGBT community.
The debate over the VAWA legislation comes as both political parties fight for support from female voters, with Republicans frequently citing the particular impact of the sluggish economy on women and mothers.
The vice president alluded to that argument Friday, with a nod to the "godawful recession" plaguing the nation's workforce.
"Notice how some who are bleating over how women are the most damaged by this godawful recession we're in here?" he said. "Well there's something we can do about that because guess what? Three quarters of all the teachers that got laid off are women. And they have families."
Repeating a line from his past stump speeches, Biden slammed the GOP for having strayed from its own values. "This is not your father's Republican party," he said, adding that he hoped that many of the women in the audience were Republicans — implying that they could inject the "other team" with more moderate views on women's issues.
"We need a real Republication Party," he said.
"These folks aren't bad people," he added. "They are good decent people but they have a very different value set right now."