The House Appropriations Committee passed their Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) bill with $35 million in increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs at the Department of Justice and a $60 million increase for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund. This is a huge increase in funding over FY 08 and even more funding than VAWA and VOCA received last week when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed their CJS bill.
The House bill increases VAWA from $400 million (in Fiscal Year 2008) to $435 million. This includes increases for several key programs:
· The STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) Grant Program was increased to $178 million
· The Legal Assistance to Victims Program and the Rural Grant Program were both increased to $41 million each
· Transitional housing received $20 million
· The Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) received $15 million
· The House passed a $60 million increase to the VOCA cap, providing a total of $650 million. This is a large and much needed funding increase for VOCA.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed their version of the CJS bill with $15 million in increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs bringing the total to $415 millio at the Department of Justice and a $45 million increase for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund.
This included increases for several key programs and critical funding for new programs:
· The STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) Grant Program was increased to $162.9 million.
· The Legal Assistance to Victims Program was increased to $42 million.
· Rural Grants were increased to $42 million.
· The Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) received $12 million.
· $45 million increase to the VOCA cap, providing $635 million in crucial funds.
To learn more about VAWA programs click here.
What happens next?
Next the full House and Senate must vote on the bills that were passed out of committee. After the House and Senate pass their separate bills, they must be reconciled into one final bill that is passed by Congress and signed by the President. It is possible that Congress will not finish the Appropriations process this calendar year, and may delay the process until a new President is inaugurated in 2009.
For an explanation of the Budget and Appropriations process and timeline click here.
Your legislators need to hear that they did the right thing by supporting these increases. Those who serve on the House and Senate Appropriations committees played a key role. Click the name of each legislator below to visit her or his congressional website. Use the contact form to send a thank you note for their work to maintain and expand funding for sexual and domestic violence.
If your reps aren’t listed below, fear not! There will be more opportunities to advocate for all of these measures to be funded at the maximum possible level as the federal budgeting process continues.
House Appropriations Committee Members from GLA
David R. Obey, Wisconsin, Chair
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Illinois
Carolyn C. Kilpatrick, Michigan
Tim Ryan, Ohio
Ralph Regula, Ohio
David L. Hobson, Ohio
Joe Knollenberg, Michigan
Ray LaHood, Illinois
Mark Steven Kirk, Illinois
Senate Appropriations Committee Members from GLA
Herb Kohl Wisconsin
Richard Durbin Illinois
Gratitude to the National Network to End Domestic Violence for suppling the information included in this update.