Congress sends Violence Against Women Act to Obama

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Thursday he will sign the sweeping expansion of the Violence Against Women Act, following a House vote to renew the law and bring gays, lesbians and transgender people, Native Americans and immigrants under its protections.

The House vote was 286-138, with 87 Republicans joining 199 Democrats to pass the bill. The measure now heads to Obama’s desk.

“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse,” Obama said in a statement. “Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk.”

The law, credited with raising awareness about abuse of women, expired in 2011. While many Republicans agreed renewing the law was necessary, some conservatives raised objections to specific protections for people because of their sexual orientation and the provisions giving Indian courts greater jurisdiction in domestic violence cases.

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