FY 2017 VOCA Funding

The Appropriations Bill (H.R. 244) released on May 1, 2017 which funds the federal government through September 20, 2017 established the VOCA cap at $2.573 billion. This is a reduction of about 15 percent from the FY 2016 total VOCA cap of $3.042 billion. While noting this is the 3-year average of deposits into the Crime Victims Fund, appropriators said that "collections have slowed based on the most recent estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, resulting in balances in the fund declining. The agreement to base the limitation on average collections will help ensure solvency of the fund."

Based on very rough estimates of some other variables in the allocation of the annual VOCA cap, it appears that FY 2017 grants for state VOCA victim assistance formula grants will be about 17 percent less than the FY 2016 grants.

The bill includes a transfer of $326 million to the Office of Violence Against Women and an additional $10 million for the DOJ Inspector General's Office.

Pending 2017 VOCA Legislation

On January 4, 2017, Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA04) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA13) introduced H.R. 275, the "Fairness for Crime Victims Act of 2017," which would require that the amount made available from the Crime Victims Fund be no less than average amount deposited into the Fund over the previous three fiscal years. The text of the bill is available here.

On February 2, 2017, Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX02) and Jim Costa (D-CA16) introduced H.R. 818, "To safeguard the Crime Victims Fund," which would require that that the Crime Victims Fund be used only for purposes authorized under the VOCA statute. See Rep. Ted Poe's Floor Remarks (including video).

In supporting these bills, NAVAA has requested that they be consolidated so that the annual 3-year average CVF cap be restricted to only those purposes authorized under the VOCA statute. NAVAA noted that recent proposals would simply transfer amounts out of the Fund for non-VOCA authorized purposes. In a January 18, 2017 letter to Reps. Perry and Boyle, NAVAA says that these "backdoor" carve outs violate the express statutory provision that the Fund be used only for VOCA authorized programs. "Allowing the Fund to be used for purposes not authorized under the VOCA statute creates a tempting opportunity to transform the Crime Victims Fund into a sizable revenue source for virtually any program."