06/17/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/17/2021 19:42
Today, U.S. Senator Murkowski (R-AK) spoke on the U.S. Senate floor, urging her colleagues to take up and pass the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act (VOCA Fix Act). In March 2021, Senator Lisa Murkowski joined her colleagues, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), in introducing critical legislation to strengthen the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) by re-directing new funds into the Crime Victims Fund.
Click here for video of Senator Murkowski.
'This legislation does not change how federal tax money is spent. It provides a technical fix by directing additional non-taxpayers dollars from criminal monetary penalties into the fund. So, we're sitting at a point where the longer Congress delays this fix, the larger the cuts that victims services in my state and all around the country will face,' said Senator Murkowski. 'This has been a hard time for us. I think we recognize it. But for those who are trying to serve victims, those that are trying to serve the most vulnerable at an exceptionally vulnerable time in their lives-it makes it ten times harder. Our providers are exhausted. They are burnt out. And now they are faced with massive cuts. We simply cannot fail them. So, I would urge us. Can we look past the politics on this? This is what these victims' advocates are saying: 'Please don't use us as the political lever here.' And so I join not only with Senator Durbin but also with the many in this body who would urge that we pass this technical fix to VOCA.'
In Alaska, 30 victims service organizations are facing 35 percent cuts to their VOCA funding, a critical source of money that keeps shelter doors open and staff paid. In the past several months, Senator Murkowski has spoken with a number of local Alaskan shelters and providers who have all shared their concern over the upcoming funding shortfalls set to happen as early as July 1 - just two weeks from today. This federal funding is essential to addressing Alaska's lack of available services for victims. If the technical fix for VOCA funds is not sustained, victim service providers will lose crucial funds and could be forced to close or reduce services.
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