The Last Word | February 11, 2013
>>> in the spotlight tonight, the republican struggle against the violence against women act . last week, southern gentleman, eric cantor , claimed to care deeply about " women in the abuse" situation.
>> you know, i, as a gentleman care very deeply about women in the abuse situation that we need to get them the relief that this bill offers. that is what we want to do. that is our priority. we must move and act on this bill. we want to protect the women who are subject to abuse. and unfortunately, there are issues that don't directly bear on that that have come up that have complicated it, as the gentleman knows, but in working with his office and the vice president, i hope to bring it up in an xpeditious.
>> two senators are lobbying against the bill, regarding domestic abusers and expands coverage to same-sex marriage individuals. freedom works says the newest version of the bill contains very vague and broad definitions of domestic violence . a man who raises his voice, simply just annoys her can potentially be prosecuted under the violence against women act . calling your spouse a mean name is not advised or polite, but it is not the same as the violence against women , portraying them as helpless victims. this is the kind of attitude that is setting women back. and "heritage action for america" claims it will create false allegations for which there is no recourse. men effectively lose their rights to due process , the presumption of innocence, the right for a fair trial , to right to confront one's accusers and the right to bear arms. and the custody visitation rights is in unprecedented, unnecessary, and dangerous. the house leader told nbc news tonight they now plan to introduce their own separate version of the violence against women act and move on that version, instead of the senate version which is expected to pass tomorrow. joining me now, msnbc's karen finney, the whole -- it is the only difference, is the only problem that the republicans have in the house this issue of how this bill is affected -- how it affects process on tribal lands?
>> that is the major sticking point. and it is the issue of nonnative men who we know prey on native women . and that is part of the whole point is that because they know that they can sort of skirt the law it is easier to essentially assault native american women on tribal lands. native american women are assaulted at rates much higher than other women in this country, about three out of five. and so this is a very serious problem that these guys are essentially, by this tactic, by saying they're going to you know, introduce their own legislation, it is a very cowardly tactic that will delay actually any kind of movement on this legislation. because they have to find a new sponsor and start from scratch. so it is a very convenient, cowardly way of getting out of having to take a stand.
>> and just to clarify what the bill does, it applies to only assaults that have occurred on tribal lands. and the tribal -- process can only be used with a man who actually has a very strong connection to the tribal land, either lives there or works there. it is not just someone passing through who can randomly get caught in some sort of violence against women 's speed trap .
>> and ana marie cox , this notion of the laws of where you commit a crime apply has been present throughout our legal history.
>> that is sort of how the law works, yes, it is where you commit the crime that matters. you know, i think that this issue of the crimes on tribal land is obviously the thing that they're talking about. and the sticking point. but i'm really alarmed by the language by the heritage organization and the other conservative group you mentioned. they something -- somehow the very idea of the violence against women act is somehow treating women as helpless victims. the violence against women act has actually given women help. it makes them not victims. it makes them the opposite of helpless victims. you know over half of the funding in the violence against women 's act goes to prevention against violence, getting them out of situations. and law enforcement officers love this act, not just because it gives them more funding but it actually decreases arrests. fewer men are arrested if you intervene on the process, families stay together if you intervene on the process. i am shocked and to the point of incoherent that this is something that republicans would dare to oppose.
>> well, you're not the only one, let's listen to what lisa murkowski , republican senator, said on this.
>> i have urged on multiple occasions that we move forward with the re-authorization of this very significant legislation. have urged the house to do the same last year. they failed to do that. you don't give up when the cause is right.
>> karen finney, there is somebody who knows something about how this law would operate on tribal lands.
>> that is right, this includes alaska. it is my understanding there could be provisions that even a non-native man in this situation on tribal lands who was being prosecuted by the tribal courts could still maintain their constitutional rights . that is something that obviously -- that is one of the major sticking points. i want to say i agree with ana marie. let's talk about this disgusting issue with the heritage foundation -- at a time when they're trying to say they're pro women , they're basically saying it is okay to abuse certain kinds of women . and they're trying to re-frame this issue to actually pit men and women against each other, rather -- in some kind of ridiculous assertion that somehow rights and freedomings. there s. there is like a limited amount, if we give more to women that will take away from men, let's just make sure everybody is protected.
>> let's listen to increasingly the voice of reason in the house of republicans said to the "new york times." he said, we're holding up a violence bill that should be retained because you don't want to help native women who are the most vulnerable over a philosophical point. ana rhea county , it seems like the house republicans are desperately trying to find something to stop this bill.
>> yes, it is not even a philosophical point. it is sort of a legalistic point, sort of nit-picking, making them look like the obstructionist congress that they are. they just want to stop stuff from happening that they don't like. they're not actually interested in compromise. they're interested in spoilers. and the fact this has to do with the domestic violence and the violence against women act just makes it more obviously disgusting than some of the other things that they have been against. this is something, this is a bill for people that has decreased domestic violence that has been authorized up until 2010 . this is something that has actually saved the country in $15 billion in costs that were averted because of the intervention and the help that