April 13, 2005
Preserve the Crime Victims Fund
We invite you to join us in signing the attached letter to Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Mikulski to encourage the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science to oppose proposals to rescind all amounts remaining in the Crime Victims Fund (“the Fund”) at the end of Fiscal Year 2006, and permit those amounts to remain in the Fund for use as authorized by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), Public Law 98-473.
For more than twenty years, VOCA has provided federal grants to victims’ services agencies. Year after year, the Crime Victims Fund – financed by criminal fines, forfeitures and assessments; not the American taxpayers – plays an essential role in helping more than 4,400 agencies nationwide provide critical services annually to nearly four million victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, elder abuse and all other crimes. These agencies utilize VOCA grants to help victims receive financial assistance for medical care, mental health counseling, lost wages and support, and funeral and burial costs. Since 2000, Congress has placed a cap on money allocated annually to ensure that a “stable level of funding will remain available for these programs in future years.” That same year, Congress amended the law to ensure that all deposits remain in the Fund for use in future fiscal years.
Despite Congress’ intention to retain all deposits to ensure the future of the Fund, the Administration’s FY 2006 budget proposal would rescind all amounts remaining in the Fund at the end of the coming fiscal year – an estimated $1.267 billion. Such a move would leave the Fund with a balance of zero going into FY 2007, making it impossible for thousands of agencies to staff and operate programs vital to victims’ well-being. We firmly reject this rescission, believing it to be contrary to the spirit and intent of the original legislation and subsequent amendments.
During floor debate on the FY 2006 Budget Resolution, the Senate approved by voice vote an amendment that rejects the proposed rescission by assuming that all amounts that have been and will be deposited into the Fund, including all amounts to be deposited in FY 2006 and thereafter, will remain in the Fund. To rescind remaining amounts in the Crime Victims Fund at the end of FY 2006 would create a disastrous situation for victim service providers and their clients.
If you would like to join us in signing this letter or have any questions, please contact Jessica Berry with Senator Leahy at 4-4465 or Laura Thurston Goodroe with Senator Crapo at 4-7500. Thank you for your consideration of this request.