The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) applauds Senator Durbin for his commitment to enacting the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA fix), as well as Senators Murkowski, Shaheen, and Leahy, all of whom have spoken on the Senate floor and/or in a committee hearing in support of “the VOCA fix.” We appreciate Senator Durbin’s two attempts to pass the VOCA fix by unanimous consent, a process that allows a bill to pass without a floor vote if no one objects. This is typically used for noncontroversial bills, and the VOCA fix has near unanimous bipartisan support.
Unfortunately, both times Senator Durbin attempted to pass the VOCA fix by unanimous consent, it was blocked by one Senator due to an issue unrelated to the merits of the VOCA bill, which he himself recognized as critical to providing services to survivors and funding for advocates. This Senator’s opposition to passing the VOCA fix is rooted in his opposition to an appropriations process that lets Appropriators use certain existing funds as budget offsets. While blocking the unanimous consent request, this Senator made a number of misleading statements about the impact of the budget offset on VOCA funding.
Part of our responsibility at NCADV is to ensure we provide accurate and timely information to advocates about the legislation we are asking them to promote, and that includes correcting the record when necessary. NCADV and allied national organizations sent a letter to the Senate to address the misleading statements he made while blocking the first unanimous consent request. A fact sheet addressing both the misleading statements he made while blocking the first and second unanimous consent requests can be found here. We recognize that Congress may need to have a conversation about the use of budget offsets, but the VOCA fix is not an appropriate vehicle for this conversation.
Having seen the unanimous consent request fail twice, we do not expect a different outcome if it is requested a third time. Please join us in asking Leader Schumer on July 14 to bring the VOCA fix to the floor, where we expect it to pass with a minimum of 90 votes, and in thanking Senators Durbin, Murkowski, Shaheen, and Leahy for their public statements of support!