On Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was scheduled to hold a mark-up hearing on the proposed International Violence Against Women Act (S. 2982). The purpose of the hearing was to consider any final amendments on the bill before a vote by the Committee, and subsequent referral to the entire Senate for a vote.
But just minutes before the hearing was scheduled to begin, committee Chairman John Kerry of Massachusetts announced the hearing would be canceled. Senate insiders believe the cancellation marks a decision by Sen. Kerry to avoid an embarrassing defeat of the bill. Sen. Kerry was a lead sponsor of the bill, along with senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
While Sen. Kerry may attempt to secure passage of the bill during the upcoming Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lame DuckÃ¢â‚¬Â session of Congress, Senate insiders believe such a move is unlikely.
A coalition of womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s organizations, menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s groups, pro-family advocates, and victim advocacy organizations had lobbied against the bill, saying it would promote a gender ideology, discriminate against male victims, and do little to address the known causes of domestic violence. The Save Indian Family Foundation also worked against I-VAWAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s passage, noting Ã¢â‚¬Å“India and other countries have had extensive experience with such abuse-reduction laws, which have had a disastrous impact on our society.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The International Violence Against Women Act has also been introduced in the House (H.R. 4594). The House Foreign Affairs Committee has not scheduled a mark-up hearing on the bill.