These Eight PA Reps Voted Against the Violence Against Women Act

In this image from video, Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) speaks during a debate in the US House of Representatives on Jan. 7, 2021. (House Television via AP)

By Patrick Abdalla

March 19, 2021

Even without their votes, the bill had bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and is moving on to the Senate.

WASHINGTON — The Violence Against Women Act won broad bipartisan support while passing the House of Representatives, even if a majority of Pennsylvania’s congressional Republicans opposed it.

All 219 House Democrats, plus 29 Republicans, voted for the bill.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Bucks) was the chief Republican sponsor of the bill in the House.

The other eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Republicans representatives voted against it. The bill is now headed to the US Senate, where it has a chance for success.

What is the Violence Against Women Act?

The original bill, sponsored by then-Sen. Joe Biden, passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994. It was renewed with bipartisan support in 2013.

When it came up for renewal again in 2019, however, the GOP-led Senate refused to take it up after it won bipartisan support by the Democratic-led House.

On Wednesday, it passed the House by a 244-172 vote.

The bill has several provisions, including: 

  • Protections for domestic abuse survivors who live in federal housing, such as ensuring they have the ability to cancel a lease early and vouchers to help them move.
  • Prevention efforts such as the Rape Prevention and Education Program. 
  • Closing some loopholes that allow abusers to purchase firearms. 
  • Unemployment benefits for victims if they have to leave a job because of abuse.
  • Accountability for non-tribal offenders who harm women on tribal lands.

So, Who Voted Against That?

Eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Republican house members voted against the bill.

The nay votes were:

  • John Joyce (R-Blair)
  • Fred Keller (R-Snyder)
  • Mike Kelly (R-Butler)
  • Dan Meuser (R-Luzerne)
  • Scott Perry (R-York)
  • Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny)
  • Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster)
  • Glenn Thompson (R-Centre)

The Full Pennsylvania Roll Call

  • Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) Yea
  • Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) Yea
  • Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) Yea
  • Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) Yea
  • Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) Yea
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) Yea
  • Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) Yea
  • John Joyce (R-Blair) Nay
  • Fred Keller (R-Snyder) Nay
  • Mike Kelly (R-Butler) Nay
  • Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny) Yea
  • Dan Meuser (R-Luzerne) Nay
  • Scott Perry (R-York) Nay
  • Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) Nay
  • Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware) Yea
  • Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) Nay
  • Glenn Thompson (R-Centre) Nay
  • Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) Yay


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