Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
Hatch votes against anti-domestic abuse law he once championed
Politics » Violence Against Women Act clears Senate 68-31.
First Published Apr 26 2012 04:20 pm • Last Updated Apr 26 2012 11:23 pm

Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch not only helped create the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, he also led two successful efforts since then to reauthorize the federal government’s signature bill to combat domestic abuse.

Not this time.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Hatch, R-Utah, voted against the latest renewal Thursday claiming that Democrats have thrown in controversial items "designed to shatter" its bipartisan support.

"It is inappropriate to use the Violence Against Women Act and the good will that it has attracted as cover for those new and divisive projects," said Hatch, referring to provisions involving immigration, same-sex partners and Native Americans.

Fifteen Republicans did join with Democrats to pass the bill, 68-31 but only after Senate GOP leaders dropped stalling tactics in a move meant to avoid accusations that Republicans are waging a "war on women," a recurring topic on the presidential trail in recent weeks.

The battle will now shift to the House, where majority Republicans are working on a version that they find more appealing, while keeping many of the programs that fund law enforcement programs and abuse counseling.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was among the 31 Senate Republicans who opposed the reauthorization, but his opposition goes far beyond Hatch’s complaints. He doesn’t think the federal government should play any role in treatment or setting most criminal penalties.

He says the law "oversteps the Constitution’s rightful limits on federal power. It interferes with the flexibility states and localities should have in tailoring programs to meet the particular needs in individual communities."

Lee, who joined the Senate in 2011, also argues the reauthorization bill does nothing to reduce the overlap in federal programs meant to tackle this issue.

But Hatch and most Republicans limited their complaints to a few hot-button provisions.

story continues below
story continues below

One of these would increase the number of visas available for undocumented immigrants who report abuse. Another is language barring same-sex discrimination in any program receiving federal funds under the act. Also drawing opposition are rules that would give federal courts more control over abuse on some tribal reservations.

"I am truly disappointed that the majority has deliberately politicized this reauthorization legislation," said Hatch, who co-sponsored the original bill in 1994 with Vice President Joe Biden, then a senator from Delaware.

Hatch in recent months has voted against some major legislation he has championed in the past, claiming that Democratic majorities and the Obama administration have made them untenable. He did not support recent versions of the Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship for some undocumented children, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Hatch is up for re-election this year in what he has promised would be his last term and has faced heavy opposition from conservative groups.

mcanham@sltrib.com" target="_blank">class="HEAD_Semibold">mcanham@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mattcanham

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.