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Posted: February 7, 2013 10:38 a.m.

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Senate poised to renew Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is poised to strengthen the principal federal anti-domestic abuse law, spreading its protection to gays, lesbians, immigrants and Native American women.

A vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act sets up a possible showdown with the House, which last year rejected a more ambitious approach.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the final vote could come either Thursday or Friday.

The act, credited with helping significantly reduce incidents of domestic violence over the past two decades, expired in 2011. Congress has since struggled to come up with legislation to extend the law and expand its reach.

Advocates say that with Republicans eager to build better ties with women voters they lost last November, chances for a compromise this year have improved.

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