The House and the Senate have completed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill and
have sent it to the President, who is expected to sign it into law. Overall, VAWA programs administered by the Department of Justice have seen a $17.3 million increase!
While there were clear successes for VAWA programs in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, we are shocked and upset to learn that the Victim of Crime Act Fund (VOCA) has been cut by $35 million and that other core VAWA program received cuts.
The President’s budget called for the elimination of the VOCA Fund but we fought hard to maintain it and even to raise the VOCA cap throughout the appropriation’s process. Though many Members of Congress supported increases to the VOCA cap, the pressure from the President to cut funding was just too strong.
The fact that we were able to save the VOCA fund from complete elimination is a direct result of your calls. We celebrate that victory but know that this cut is unacceptable and we need to act!
Although we cannot change the outcome of the VOCA cut right now, we need to
channel our energy productively to make sure that VOCA is restored next year.
We need your voice! Look for these strategic activities in January:
Document the impact: We will be sending around a survey for you to tell us how the VOCA cut impacts your programs and victims in your area. The survey results will be used as evidence as we fight for VOCA increases.
Call-in: We will be organizing a call-in day for folks to discuss the impact of the VOCA cut and discuss how we can move forward in the future.
Write a letter: We will draft a letter that you can modify and send to your Members of Congress about the importance of VOCA funding.
Talk to candidates: We will supply you with talking points and questions for the presidential candidates. As they move through the primaries, they need to know that VOCA is a significant issue for the American public.
Thank you for being ready to act in these strategic ways to ensure a stable future for VOCA!
Many essential VAWA programs received increases, including an $8.8 million
increase for STOP Grants, a $2.6 million increase for Transitional Housing and a $1.6 million increase for Services for Rural Victims! New and vital programs have been funded, including $2.8 million for Services for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence, $2.8 million for Services for Teens, $2.8 million for Engaging Men and Youth in Prevention, and $9.4 million for the Sexual Assault Services Program!
We know that Congress worked for these increases under extreme pressure to
make cuts. This is a huge victory for us! Your calls about VAWA funding are surely the reason behind these increases! Please click here to see the chart with the other increases, highlighted in black borders.
Additionally, many core social safety net programs, upon which victims rely, won increases in this appropriations bill, including heat assistance (LIHEAP), WIC, and Community Health Centers.
Although VAWA programs received an overall increase, some programs were cut. There was a $2.1 million cut to Legal Assistance for Victims and a $3.2
million cut to Grants to Encourage Arrest. Please click here to see the chart with the other cuts, highlighted in dotted borders.
Labor Health and Human Services programs like the Family Violence Prevention
Services Act (FVPSA), the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Rape Prevention and Education received no funding increases or cuts, leaving them
the same as last year. Each year, however, all programs have a small percent taken off their overall budget, called a rescission. This year the rescission is at 1.747% which essentially cuts funding to these programs. FVPSA will now be funded at $122.6 million (a $2.2 million cut) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline will be funded at $2.9 million (a $52,000 cut).
These programs are our priorities and we will fight for increases in the
next appropriations cycle!
Please thank the following Representatives and Senators (listed alphabetically by state) who fought tirelessly for increases to VAWA programs and to protect the VOCA cap:
Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Michael Honda (D-CA),
Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA),
Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL),
Dan Burton (R-IN), Dennis Moore (D-KS), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), James
Walsh (R-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Cathy
McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), David Obey (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV),
and Alan Mollohan (D-WV).
Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), Joseph Biden (D-DE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mike
Crapo (R-ID), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Arlen Specter
(R-PA), and Patty Murray (D-WA) Robert Byrd (D-WV).