The self-proclaimed 'grim reaper' is sitting on a bill that would keep violent and dangerous domestic abusers from obtaining guns.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to do his job and take up House-passed bills could have dire consequences for victims of domestic violence and those around them.
It's been 74 days since the House voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that strengthens legal protections and funds support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
But the McConnell-led GOP Senate has yet to take up the bill to extend and update VAWA — which lapsed back in February. And the longer VAWA stays lapsed, the more likely it is that services like shelters and crisis centers will suffer.
The House passed the bill on April 4, but 157 Republicans voted against it because they objected to a provision that bars known domestic abusers from having guns. The shambolic and financially struggling National Rifle Association opposes the bill for that reason, and almost every House Republican cowed to the NRA's demand to vote against it.
But the provision is important for protecting victims. Abused women are five times more likely to be murdered if their abuser owns a firearm.
And keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers saves even more lives, since mass shootings and domestic violence are strongly correlated. According to an ABC News review from January, of the 20 mass shootings in 2018 where four or more people other than the shooter were killed, 10 were "instances of either intimate partner or family violence."
It's unclear why McConnell is refusing to take up VAWA. A Senate aide told HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery that there's "nothing to report" about where the Senate stands on reauthorizing VAWA.
McConnell, however, has bragged about blocking every piece of legislation the Democratic-passed House has sent to his chamber, no matter how sensible or important. McConnell even dubbed himself the "grim reaper," and is selling campaign merchandise with that nickname that he's clearly very proud of.
And real people suffering from domestic violence and sexual assault could simply be another casualty of McConnell's blanket policy of blocking anything House Democrats are doing in order to make Trump's dwindling base happy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.