Below is an urgent action alert from the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) regarding VAWA and VOCA Funding decisions that impact California.
Last week Congress finished working out the differences between the House and the Senate on their Labor Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Bill that funds the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) Program and other Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services. This bill provided an increase in RPE funding for FY 2008 to $43.7 million! The bill must now be sent to the President, who has threatened to veto it (more on that below). Members of Congress must hear from you to vote to OVERRIDE President’s veto!
Your calls throughout the year made a difference and ensured that an increase was maintained when the House and Senate compromised on their LHHS bills. As you may recall, the House had level funded RPE while the Senate bill included an increase. Now we must keep our voices strong so Congress knows they must send a message to the President.
…And that’s exactly why we need you to KEEP MAKING CALLS about funding for VAWA programs administered by the US Department of Justice (DOJ)!
Let’s ensure another victory for VAWA Funding! Make calls this week before Congress Adjourns for Thanksgiving and a 2-Week “Harvest Recess”!
IF YOU HAVEN’T CALLED YET, CALL NOW TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. IF YOU’VE ALREADY CALLED, FORWARD THIS E-MAIL ON TO A FRIEND!
To find out how to contact your Member of Congress go to www.senate.gov; or www.house.gov. Or call Capitol Hill switchboard at 202.224.3121 and they will connect you to your Member of Congress.
When you call your Senator or Representative, your call will be answered by a receptionist. Tell him or her that you want to leave a message for the Senator or Representative. The receptionist will take down your message. Tell them:
- “Thank you for working so hard to provide funding for the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) as well as funding increases for Violence Against Women Act programs and to raise the cap on the Victims of Crime Act Fund in the Fiscal Year 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.”
- “Please protect the $10 million appropriated to SASP as well as the increases that the House and the Senate have provided for VAWA and VOCA.”
If you have time or the opportunity, tell them about why you need more funding:
- Sexual assault is a devastating, life-threatening crime that faces our nation. It impacts men, women and children.
- VAWA programs work: Tell them about successes in your local programs.
- Rape crisis centers do wonderful work but they are underfunded and must place victims, (e.g., children) on waiting lists for services.
- Some rape crisis centers are even closing their doors.
- Tell them about the unmet needs in your community.
THE DETAILS (AND THE VETO THREAT)
VAWA Programs at DOJ
Thanks to YOUR ADVOCACY THIS YEAR, the House of Representatives and the Senate both recognized the urgent need for services for victims of domestic and sexual violence and voted to increase VAWA funding and raise the VOCA cap in their Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bills.
Now the House and Senate must resolve the differences in the two versions of their appropriations bills and create one final bill that is passed by Congress and signed by the President. To secure increases for VAWA and VOCA, we must make sure that victims’ voices are heard during this process.
Check out this link for more information on the budget and appropriations process:
As you will see, for some programs the House has allocated more funding while the Senate has allocated more funding for other programs. We are urging the Representatives and Senators to protect the larger increases in funding for each program.
The calls you made about VAWA and VOCA amendments made a tangible difference in the outcomes of those amendments. Amendments in the House passed by landslide margins!
We are on a roll but we haven’t won yet! We need the final CJS Appropriations Bills to include the larger of the House or Senate numbers for each grant program.
VAWA Programs at HHS
The President has made it clear that he will veto this bill, and it does not appear Congress has enough votes to override the veto. This means that Congress must eventually reach a compromise with the White House and pass a second bill with less spending. The more calls we make about VAWA and SASP, the more likely it is that increases in VAWA and SASP will be maintained no matter what compromise is eventually reached. So don’t feel defeated by the veto threat – the only thing that will help us increase funding is your grassroots support.