One month after signing a bill that authorized a major increase in funding to aid victims of domestic violence, President Bush proposed an overall cut to domestic violence programs and services and included no funding for the law’s new programs. “Congress definitely supports these programs and they’ll put them in the appropriations bills” later this year, predicted Jill Morris of the Denver-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The Violence Against Women Act authorizes up to $1 billion in the coming fiscal year; the White House requested $546 million, a decrease of $20 million–or 3.5 percent–from the amount appropriated in 2006. The amount does not include any funding for 21 newly enacted programs, the largest of which is $50 million in services for survivors of sexual assault. The programs translate into government savings because they increase worker productivity, reduce hospital and court costs, and curb gang violence and homelessness, said Allison Randall of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “It’s a small amount of money, but it does a lot of good,” she said.