Friday, August 1, 2014

Grimes is 'Playing politics with Violence Against Women' in latest TV ad, says

A woman in Alison Lundergan Grimes's latest television commercial asks Sen. Mitch McConnell, "Why did you vote two times against the Violence Against Women Act?" The question refers to votes in 2012 and 2013, when McConnell said he "opposed Democratic expansions of the bill that included provisions for same-sex couples and immigrants, and one that would have allowed Native American tribal courts to try non-Native Americans accused of domestic violence on reservations. In both cases, McConnell supported Republican alternatives to those bills that he claimed would have strengthened the Violence Against Women Act," Robert Farley writes for, a nonpartisan service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

"McConnell has never opposed the central purpose" of the law, Farley reports. "In fact, he was a cosponsor of the original bill in 1991, and he has twice supported its reauthorization. McConnell did vote against a massive crime bill that included the VAWA because it also contained a ban on assault weapons."

The second half of the question in the ad says McConnell voted "against enforcing equal pay for women" in 2012 and 2009. The phrase is debatable, Farley writes: The 2012 bill would have "prohibited companies from barring employees from talking with co-workers about their pay; required businesses to give a reason for disparities in pay; and allowed women to sue employers for punitive damages if they were paid unfairly." McConnell and other Republicans said the law already bans unequal, gender-based pay, and the bill would have just caused more lawsuits. The 2009 bill, which passed, extended the time for women to file pay-discrimination suits to 180 days after their last paycheck. McConnell "supported a failed amendment that would have started the 180-day statute of limitation clock from 'the date when the person aggrieved has, or should be expected to have, enough information to support a reasonable suspicion of such discrimination'," Farley notes.

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