The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) encourages Congress, the President and his Administration to reach a clean bipartisan deal to fund the federal government until the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30th, 2019. Last week’s continuing resolution which ended the partial government shutdown only funds the impacted parts of government until February 15th. If Congress and the Administration do not reach a deal by then, the federal government would once again face a partial shutdown.
Says Ruth Glenn, NCADV’s President/CEO, “Advocates must be able to focus on safety for victims and survivors. They should not have to worry about whether they will be able to support survivors or have a means of supporting themselves. The uncertainty of not having a working government and accessing the resources that advocates and survivors rely on, is detrimental to all. Congress, the President and his Administration must act to fund the government and allow advocates and domestic violence programs to continue their life-saving work.”
During the recent 35-day partial government shutdown that ended Friday, January 25th, 2019, the Office on Violence Against Women, the Office for Victims of Crime and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Office remained open and distributed grant funding. However, it is not clear they will be able to do so if there is another partial government shutdown. Because of the uncertainty created by quickly expiring funding bills, some states have withheld the federal funding they usually distribute to subgrantees in their states. The hold on the distribution of these funds caused some domestic violence programs to furlough staff until funding resumed. Furthermore, the shutdown directly harmed victims and survivors who rely on vital economic supports, such as housing vouchers and/or SNAP (food stamps), necessary to rebuild their financial stability. Survivors’ lack of economic stability is also associated with increased intimate partner violence. When 800,000 federal employees were furloughed or working without pay during the partial shutdown, contacts to domestic violence hotlines abruptly increased. Also, victims and survivors may have stayed in an abusive situation longer because they did not know if the services would be available to them. This only increased the threat to their safety and well-being.
The federal budget cannot be held hostage to funding for border or immigration issues. The Appropriations bill is not the forum in which to address immigration and border security.