Federal Budget Deal Would Rob Crime Victims’ Fund, Advocates Say


A budget deal expected to be approved today by the House of Representatives would take $1.5 billion from a federal fund that was set up to help groups that provide aid to crime victims, advocates complained. The provision is part of an agreement by Congressional leaders that would increase federal spending by $80 billion over two years and raise the federal borrowing limit through 2017. The National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA) said the deal “requires that $1.5 billion be permanently taken out of the Crime Victims Fund, a special federal account composed entirely of fines and other monetary penalties paid by criminals convicted of federal crimes, not from U.S. taxpayers.” (VOCA stands for Victims of Crime Act.)

Since its creation in 1984, the fund has distributed $14.6 billion to help victims of all types of crimes. Congress required each year's deposits to be used exclusively for victim services. Since 2000, Congress has capped the annual distributions that created a fund balance. Although the statute requires that all unobligated fund amounts “shall remain in the Fund for obligation in future fiscal years,” the association said, “for the first time, Congress is raiding the Crime Victims Fund by permanently canceling $1.5 billion from the Fund to pay for other federal spending programs,” The group said it supports increases of federal spending for social and human services, but it lamented that the deal “does this in part on the backs of crime victims.” It called the bill a “terrible precedent” that “opens the door to further looting of the Fund for any purpose whatsoever.”

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