Scanlon Co-Led “VOCA Fix” Signed Into Law By President Biden
Washington, D.C., July 22, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today celebrated President Biden’s signing of the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act. The bill, which Rep. Scanlon co-led, passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support in March and the U.S. Senate with unanimous support on Tuesday. President Biden signed the bill into law during a ceremony at the White House this afternoon.
The VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act supports vital victim service programs by preventing future cuts to already diminished federal victim service grants.
VOCA grants are the primary source of federal funding for thousands of victim service providers around the country, including programs serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, and drunk driving. VOCA grants also fund victim compensation — including paying medical bills, covering lost wages, and paying for funeral costs. These critical grants are not taxpayer-funded. Instead, they are paid out of the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), which is funded, in turn, through federal criminal penalties. Over the past several years, deposits into the CVF have dropped, leading to corresponding cuts in grants to victim service providers.
"VOCA funds are a critical resource for programs serving victims of violent crime,” said Rep. Scanlon. “They fund programs for survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and gun violence, help families coping with opioid abuse, and provide compensation for a wide range of crime victims. In recent years, the reduction in VOCA funds has jeopardized vital services provided by organizations across our community. Seeing President Biden sign the VOCA Fix today was a moment of immense pride — and relief. Thanks to this bill, victims of crime and victim service providers can count on more effective, reliable, and accessible programs and services moving forward. I thank my co-leads for their commitment to getting this bill over the finish line and for showing America’s survivors that we will do all we can to support them.”
The VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act requires the Department of Justice to deposit all monetary penalties, including from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, into the CVF. This simple fix will prevent future funding cuts that jeopardize programs’ ability to serve their communities. In addition, the bill will:
Co-leading the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act with Rep. Scanlon (D-PA) were House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and John Moolenaar (R-MI). It was led in the Senate by Senate Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Find the full bill text here.