Obama would veto House domestic violence bill: White House

Reuters News

5/15/2012 7:48:46 PM - Reuters News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration strongly opposes a domestic violence bill being considered by the House of Representatives because it fails to do enough to protect illegal immigrants, Native Americans and gays, the White House said on Tuesday.

Warning that President Barack Obama's advisers would recommend he veto the legislation if it were sent to him for signing, the White House urged House lawmakers to "find common ground" with the Senate to pass a bill.

The Republican-controlled House is due to vote on Wednesday on the bill, which toughens penalties to deter abuse but does not specifically address protections for illegal immigrants, gays and Native Americans, which a Senate bill had expanded.

The House bill "rolls back existing law and removes long-standing protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault - crimes that predominately affect women," the White House said in a statement.

Republicans have accused Obama's Democrats of trying to turn the issue into an election-year fight to fire up the president's liberal base ahead of the November 6 vote.

Democrats are seeking to cement support among women and Latinos for Obama, who polls show leaning his way over Mitt Romney, his likely Republican rival for the White House.

The Democratic-controlled Senate, on a bi-partisan vote, has already backed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark 1994 law that significantly reinforced the power of authorities to combat domestic abuse.

"The administration urges the House to find common ground with the bipartisan Senate-passed bill and consider and pass legislation that will protect all victims," the White House said.

(Reporting By Alister Bull; Editing by Paul Simao)