U.S. Rep. John Katko wasn't satisfied with every provision in a bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, but he voted for it anyway.
The House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation that would renew the Violence Against Women Act, a 1994 law that aims to address crimes against women and established grant programs to support agencies across the country, including Vera House in Syracuse.
The bill passed by a 263-158 vote. Katko, R-Camillus, was one of 33 Republicans who supported the measure.
The largely Democratic-backed bill contains some provisions that may be difficult to advance in the Republican-led Senate. The legislation would allow transgender women to be placed in shelters for women who are homeless or victims of domestic violence. It would also allow transgender women who receive prison sentences to serve in a facility associated with their gender identity.
Republicans also oppose language that would block anyone convicted of abusing or stalking their dating partner from owning a firearm.
Katko expressed disappointment with Democrats for not working with Republicans "to produce a bipartisan piece of legislation that would pass both chambers." The reauthorization bill had a Republican cosponsor, U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
"While this bill before the House today is far from perfect, it represents the first step as this bill makes its way through the legislative process," Katko said. "The bill now moves to the Senate, where legislators in that body will make changes. As they consider this bill, I urge my colleagues to work across party lines so we can send a comprehensive and bipartisan VAWA reauthorization to the president's desk for signature, and give organizations nationwide the funding they need to plan for the long term."
The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has been a priority for Katko. He called for the renewal of the 25-year-old law during a press conference at Vera House last fall.
In February, he invited Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman to be his guest for President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.