Lawmakers let tribes tackle abuse

WASHINGTON ­— The Senate on Monday turned back a Republican effort to strip from the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act a controversial provision that would expand the authority of Native American courts to prosecute non-Indians accused of abusing native women, but senators left final passage of the bill until Tuesday.

The vote, 31 to 59, fell largely along party lines. Final passage of a act is expected on a bipartisan vote Tuesday.


The tribal courts issue, however, remains the one true obstacle to an agreement with the Republican-controlled House. Senate Democrats — and some Republicans — said they would fight to keep the provision in any final bill to reauthorize and expand the landmark 1994 anti-domestic violence law.

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma had proposed to remove the provision that would give tribal courts jurisdiction over non-Native Americans who commit a domestic-violence crime on Indian land or against a Native American woman. Coburn said his amendment would have reaffirmed ‘‘the inalienable rights of every American citizen guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.’’

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