Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund
President Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill to bolster a fund used to support victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes at a ceremony attended by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
The bill adds a new revenue stream for the Crime Victims Fund, which was established when Biden was a senator in 1984 to support victim services, specifically by directing funds collected from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements. It is currently supported by criminal penalties and fines.
“This bill is going to allow us to make sure that all the fines and penalties that are from federal cases go into the Crime Victims Fund to rebuild this fund, because it’s badly needed,” Biden said in remarks at a signing ceremony at the White House.
“This is going to enable us to provide more help and support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking and other crimes all across America,” Biden added.
Biden said that the fund had been dramatically depleted in recent years, resulting in cuts to victim services, and that the new fix would provide more support to victims who have suffered physical and emotional abuse, endured economic costs and grappled with mental health problems.
“When someone commits a crime it’s not enough to bring the predator to justice. We also need to support the victims,” Biden said.
Biden, who represented Delaware in the Senate earlier in his career, was a co-sponsor of the original law when it passed the Senate in 1984.
The Senate voted in an exceedingly rare unanimous 100-0 vote on Tuesday to pass the bill strengthening the fund.
Biden hosted a sizable group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers at the White House to celebrate the occasion, posing for a picture with the group that included Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), as well as Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).
Biden also urged the Congress to take bipartisan action on another piece of legislation — namely by reauthorizing and strengthening protections in the Violence Against Women Act “without further delay.”