After months of stalling on Capitol Hill the House has passed the Violence Against Women Act. President Obama has said he will sign it.
This could have been a done deal way back in the last legislative session. The Senate had passed its version back in May, but the House moved to draft its own bill that stripped out the Senate version's protections for gay, immigrant, Native American, and student victims.
This week members of the GOP realized that version was unlikely to pass. That was in part because members of their own party supported those provisions present in the Senate version.
Yesterday, 87 House G.O.P. members joined 199 Democrats to support of the Senate version of the bill. Nineteen House members even went as far as to send a letter for Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker John Boehner calling for passage of the more comprehensive version. It's the third time in a matter of months that the House has passed a bill with the Democratic minority pushing the balance of the vote under John Boehner's watch.
Tom Cole is a Republican Congressman representing Oklahoma's 4th district. Cole is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. He voted in favor of the Senate version of the bill.
Congressman Cole believes that Congress managed to find common ground on issues that would normally be very divisive, something it has proven generally inept at over the last few years: "We let the House work its will. And it actually worked pretty well and dealt with the issue fairly expeditiously in a divided environment."
He believes that Speaker Boehner operated appropriately in a difficult situation: "He understands politics about as well anybody I’ve ever met and I’ve worked with him for over 20 years… This was a very, very difficult issue because there were divisions within his own conference that prevented him from getting to 218."
On the impact of the legislation in tribal areas, he says: "It will make a dramatic difference."