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Day of action: Urge senators to approve VOCA Fix Act

The following is from the Coalition of Labor Union Women. To learn more about how to get involved with CLUW in Washington state — and become a member — click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2021) — Today is a VOCA Day of Action to contact U.S. Senators and urge them to approve the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021, or “the VOCA Fix Act,” to prevent devastating cuts to federal funding for victim service programs through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).

Victim service providers — including programs serving survivors of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, drunk driving, homicide, and other crimes — rely heavily on VOCA grants. VOCA also supplements state victim compensation funds. VOCA grants are not taxpayer-funded; instead, VOCA is funded by monetary penalties from federal criminal convictions.

But federal grants to victim services through VOCA have been cut by two-thirds in the last four years. Congress can fix this by ensuring federal financial penalties from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements are treated the same way as penalties resulting from criminal convictions — that they go to serve and compensate crime victims. That’s what the VOCA Fix Act will accomplish.

TAKE A STAND — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with a bipartisan group of senators, is planning to bring the VOCA Fix Act to the floor this week for final passage. We need every senator to support this effort to pass the bill without any amendments. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and leave this message for each of your senators:

Support Floor Action on the VOCA Fix this week! Vote YES on final passage of the House-passed VOCA Fix bill, H.R. 1652, and vote NO on Senator Toomey’s amendment, which would kill the bill. Don’t leave for recess and leave crime victims behind!

The House passed its VOCA Fix Act on March 17 by a 384-38 vote. The bill is expected to pass by a similar margin in the Senate, but it needs a floor vote. Victims have already lost $545 million this year, and they lose more every day that passes. Sen. Schumer has asked for a unanimous consent agreement to vote on the VOCA Fix Act as well as on a poison pill amendment by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.)

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