Congress spent the weekend drafting an Omnibus Appropriations bill. The House is likely to vote on the bill early this evening and the Senate will vote on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Overall, DOJ VAWA programs have seen a $17.7 million increase! Unfortunately, some programs that mean a great deal to sexual assault and domestic violence advocates have also received cuts due to the extreme pressure Congress faced to get the bill down to the President’s budget request and to stave off another veto by the President.

In addition to cuts made to programs throughout the Omnibus and throughout each federal agency, an across the board cut will also impact each and every federal program. This year the across the board cut is at 1.747%. Many advocates let out a sigh of relief as we had been hearing dire predictions of up to 5% percent across the board cuts.
Many programs have received increases including $9.4 million for the Sexual Assault Services Program (when you consider we started at $0); a $1.6 million increase for Services for Rural Victims, a $2.8 million increase for Services for Teens, and $2.8 million for Services for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence! Also please remember final numbers for these programs will include the across the board cut.
We know that Congress worked for these increases under extreme pressure to make cuts. This is a huge victory for us! Our grassroots calls about VOCA and VAWA funding are surely the reason behind these increases!
Many core social safety net programs, upon which victims rely won increases in this appropriations bill, including heat assistance, WIC, and Community Health Centers.


The VOCA fund has been cut by $35million. This is a huge cut and will have serious consequences for programs. Working with our allied organizations here in DC, we are developing a strategy to bring the VOCA fund back to its original numbers to meet the growing needs of victims.
The President wanted to ax the fund completely, and Congress was under extreme pressure to get to his numbers.
The fact that we were able to save the VOCA fund from complete annihilation is a testament to our collective hard work.
We are all angry about this devastating cut but we need to channel our anger toward positive results next year!
The other bad news is a $2.1 million cut to Legal Assistance for Victims and a $3.2 million cut to Grants to Encourage Arrest.
The House of Representatives is slated to vote on the Omnibus as early as this evening. Then it will be passed over to the Senate where more funding for the war in Iraq is expected to be added on to the measure.
It will then be sent back over to the House for a final vote before being sent to the President for his signature. At this time the President is expected to sign the bill. However, a lot can change after the House and Senate vote on the bill and pass it on to the President. We are waiting for more concrete information.