Months of negotiations to try to come up with a bipartisan deal in the Senate to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act have reached an impasse, The Hill reports. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had been tasked with trying to come up with an agreement to reauthorize VAWA, but Ernst said this week that she’ll be offering her own bill, declaring the bipartisan talks “came to a screeching halt.”
The House passed its bill in April over objections from the National Rifle Association and Republicans, who argued the legislation would restrict gun rights by preventing people convicted of stalking or abusing dating partners from buying a gun. The bill would eliminate the so-called boyfriend loophole by expanding a current ban on firearm purchases for spouses or formerly married partners convicted of abuse or under a restraining order to include dating partners who were never legally married. More than 30 House Republicans voted for the measure. But the opposition from most House Republicans, as well as the NRA, made it unlikely it would pass the GOP-controlled Senate. VAWA lapsed in February after it was left out of a funding bill that ended the partial government shutdown. The statute provides funding and grants for a variety of programs that address domestic abuse.