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Senate Votes to Renew Violence Against Women Act

The U.S. Senate has voted overwhelmingly to renew the Violence Against Women Act to protect victims of domestic violence.

Lawmakers voted to reauthorize the measure by a 78-22 margin Tuesday.

Under the reauthorization, the bill ensures protection for immigrants, lesbian and gays, and Native Americans who are victims of domestic violence.

In a statement, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called on the House of Representatives to "vote without delay to renew the law." Biden negotiated the original 1994 bill as a U.S. senator.

Republicans have questioned the constitutionality of a provision that allows tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians in some cases on tribal land.

Among the provisions, the Violence Against Women Act provides grants to help victims of domestic violence. The legislation also helps authorities address the backlog of analyzing evidence in rape cases.

The act expired in 2011. The House and Senate passed their own versions of the bill last year, but did not reach a compromise.

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