Last night, Congressional staff told key sources that they had received so many calls from victim advocates that they simply had to support ammendments related to victim service funding. On Wednesday night, the full U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for 4 amendments to increase funding for VAWA by $29 million and for VOCA by $10 million in the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. Overall, the House bill represents a $100.4 million increase in funding over last year’s budget for sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking. 

Passing multiple amendments by such large margins is a significant success for victim advocates across the country. The amendments included:

  1. The Inslee-Burton Amendment, offered by Congressmen Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Dan Burton (R-IN), passed 412-18.
    * $6 million for services for children exposed to sexual assault and domestic violence;
    *$6 million for direct services for youth and teen victims of sexual and domestic violence;·     
    *$1 million for a Tribal sex offender and protection order registry to help stop serial perpetrators and $1 million for a study of violence committed against Native women. 
  2. The Reichert-Murphy Amendment, offered by Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), passed 405-25.  
    *$5 million to train judges and create court practices that improve victim safety. 
  3. The Poe-Costa-Moore Amendment, offered by Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX), Jim Costa (D-CA), and Dennis Moore (D-KS), passed 395-34.
    *$10 million increase for VOCA and prevents potentially devastating cuts to VOCA.
  4. The Capito Amendment, offered by Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), passed 243-186.
    *$10 million increase for Rural Grants.  

What Happens Next?
While passing the CJS bill out of the full of House is a significant step, there is still much work to be done before funding will make its way to the field.
The different House and Senate bills must be conferenced into one final bill that is passed by Congress and signed by the President (who has threatened to veto bills that increase spending beyond his requested budget). 

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