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Senate Democrats raise violence against women act
Senate Democrats dare Republicans to block bill on violence against women
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Senate Democrats are daring Republicans to vote against a bill that would protect women from violence, in the latest round of election-year battles for female voters.

Democrats want to renew the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which expired last year, and add protections for immigrant, gay and Native American victims. Republicans who widely supported the law's renewal in the past say they object to some of the additions.

The timing of the debate fits neatly into the Democrats' overarching 2012 campaign theme that Republicans aren't standing up for women on contraception, abortion rights, health insurance and now domestic violence.

Republicans criticized Democrats for making a scene Thursday on the Senate floor without having so much as scheduled a vote.

The bill has 58 co-sponsors, including five Republicans. Debate could begin next week.

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