FY 2019

The Administration has released its proposed FY 2019 appropriations. Based upon the recent Bipartisan Budget Agreement, the Administration's request would establish the FY 2019 VOCA cap at $2.3 billion of which:
  • $485.5 million would be transferred to OVW
  • $10 million would be transferred to the Inspector General
  • $25 million would be available to OVC for Vision 21 activities
  • 5 percent ($115 million) would be set aside for tribal grants

Including an estimate for OJP management and administrative costs, this leaves $1.56 billion for core VOCA authorized programs of which $1.26 billion would be available for state VOCA assistance grants. That would be a reduction of 32 percent from FY 2017 state VOCA assistance grants.

The proposal also includes major structural changes to the Crime Victims Fund by setting future annual VOCA cap at $2.3 billion and limiting future annual deposits into the Fund at $2.5 billion. Based on current and projected Crime Victims Fund deposits, this proposal poses a serious, long-term threat to the Fund's viability to support critical victim services.

FY 2018 VOCA Funding

Congress has extended the continuing resolution through March 23, 2018 and in doing so forestalled a partial federal government shutdown and delayed implementation of the statutory pay-as-you-go (SPAYGO) requirements. Under SPAYGO, mandatory spending programs would have to be reduced (or eliminated) to offset the projected increase in the federal deficit resulting from the recently enacted tax bill. Because the size of the projected deficit (up to $1.5 trillion or more over 10 years), SPAYGO cuts could prevent any spending from the Crime Victims Fund, among other federal mandatory spending programs. The extended CR delays implementation of SPAYGO cuts until January 19, 2018 which gives Congress time to waive those requirements as indicated by Congressional leadership.

For VOCA, FY 2018 spending cannot be determined until Congress enacts a spending bill for the entire fiscal year. So far, the House Appropriations Committee is recommending a FY 2018 VOCA cap of $4.632 billion, an 80 percent increase over the FY 2017 VOCA cap. While the Committee is not recommending any transfers of Crime Victim Fund to programs not authorized under the VOCA statute, the Committee would allocate 5 percenet "for grants to Indian tribal governments to improve services and justice for victims of crime."

The Senate Appropriations Committee is recommending a FY 2018 VOCA cap of $3.636 billion, a 41 percent increase over the FY 2017 VOCA cap which would include 5 percent "to the Office for Victims of Crime for grants, consistent with the requirements of the Victims of Crime Act, to Indian tribes to improve services for victims of crime." The Senate bill would also transfer another $10 million to the Office of Inspector General for oversight and auditing purposes and $379 million to the Office on Violence Against Women.