My Bill to Increase Funding for Crime Victims Was Just Signed Into Law

Exciting news: Last Thursday I had the honor of joining President Biden at the White House while he signed a bill I helped lead to increase funding for crime victims into law.

For almost 40 years, public and nonprofit agencies have provided services and compensation to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, gun violence, drug abuse, and other crimes using grants authorized by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). VOCA grants do not come from taxpayer dollars. They have always been funded by fines and monetary penalties against criminal defendants — often large corporations — convicted of federal crimes. In recent years, those funds have dramatically decreased, threatening to end critical programs, as the Department of Justice has increasingly held criminal defendants accountable with pretrial settlements rather than by going to trial.

H.R. 1652, the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 provides a simple solution to this issue. It will increase funding for the VOCA grant system by funneling settlement payments into the Crime Victims Fund as well.

Last year, we worked to build bipartisan support for this common sense legislation. This March, the bill passed 384–38 in the House. Last week, without notice, the Senate passed the bill unanimously, and before the end of the week, President Biden signed it into law in the East Room of the White House!

I was so honored — and excited — to be invited to the White House for the bill signing, along with bipartisan members of the House and Senate who led the bill and hard-working victim advocacy groups. I’ve had several bills pass the House, and some have been signed into law after being included in larger packages, but this was special — both because it was a stand-alone bill and because it impacts so many programs that I care deeply about, which provide relief to the most vulnerable constituents in my district.

I am so proud to work on behalf of our entire community, and I look forward to making more visits like this to the White House.

Mary Gay Scanlon currently serves a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.