Vice President Joe Biden called Republicans who opposed reauthorization of the legislation against domestic violence that he wrote as a senator “Neanderthals.”
Biden threw a reception at his home last night to mark the 19th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. About 140 guests from the administration, Congress and advocacy groups munched on finger foods while Biden reflected on when he first crafted the bill.
“I caused a lot of trouble because I just started writing,” Biden said to laughs, according to the White House pool report. “I’m serious. This isn’t one of these cases, I didn’t ask for staff help, I didn’t ask for any help, I was so God darn– gosh darn mad.”
“I literally asked for a summit of all the judges in the state. And because I chaired the Judiciary Committee, they were worried they’d never be elevated. All kidding aside … literally every judge in the state but one or two showed up. We laid out … literally what we expected of them. And things began to change.”
Biden said he’s traveled 800,000 miles as vice president and seen the legislation’s impact in other countries as well.
He added that he’s “stunned” the bill’s reauthorization was blocked for several months in the House before its passage in February. Some GOPs opposed the revised VAWA’s protection of gays, special visas for legal and illegal immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse, and letting the tribal court systems try non-Indian abusers.
“I’m going to say something outrageous,” Biden said. “I think I understand the Senate better than any man or women who’s ever served in there, and I think I understand the House … I was surprised this last time … The idea we still had to fight? We had to fight to reauthorize?”
Biden blamed the delay on “this sort of Neanderthal crowd” in the House.
“Did you ever think we’d be fighting over, you know, 17, 18 years later to reauthorize this? Well, you know what? The thing they didn’t like, they said we like it the way it is — believe me, they don’t.”
To the Republicans’ argument that the tribal court prosecutions was the biggest sticking point, the VP said, “Constitutional violation? Yeah, come on!”
On forcing President Obama’s hand on the issue of same-sex marriage, Biden said, “I make no apologies on the issue of marriage.”