Should Family Violence Prevention Services Programs Be Reauthorized & Reformed? (H.R. 2119)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is H.R. 2119?
(Updated March 21, 2022)
This bill would modify, expand, and reauthorize the Family Violence and Prevention Services program, which funds emergency shelters and supports related assistance for victims of domestic violence, through fiscal year 2026. It would require the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants and enter into cooperative agreements with state and tribal domestic violence coalitions, and community-based organizations, to support prevention services. Grant recipients would be required to use funding to provide technical assistance; promote evidence-informed prevention strategies; implement coordinated, community responses to reduce risk factors for family violence; and develop prevention partnership strategies.
HHS would be required to award specified grants to organizations that provide population-specific services in underserved communities and to community-based organizations that provide culturally specific domestic violence services to racial and ethnic minority groups. The bill would also establish a grant program for tribal domestic violence coalitions to support the provision of local, tribal, family domestic or dating violence services and require HHS to award a grant for the administration of a hotline dedicated to serving Indians affected by domestic violence.
Additionally, the bill would modify certain program-wide definitions; changes the requirements for specified grant applications, eligibility criteria, and use of funds.
Argument in favor
This bill would make a number of improvements to critical programs aimed at preventing family and domestic violence and supporting survivors. It would improve coordination between state, local, and tribal groups receiving federal assistance and ensure that such programs are properly tailor and culturally specific.
Programs aimed at preventing family and domestic violence are too important to become a political football, but unfortunately Democrats drafted this bill in a manner that opens the door to taxpayer funding of abortions and would make it harder for faith-based organizations to help people in need. This bill should be scrapped to make way for a truly bipartisan proposal.
Individuals seeking help while dealing with family and domestic violence; programs which provide prevention and support services for people dealing with family and domestic violence; and HHS.
Cost of H.R. 2119
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would authorize $327.5 million in annual appropriations over the FY2022-2026 period for a total of $1.316 billion in that timespan. Congress would need to enact appropriations for that spending to occur.
In-Depth: Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) introduced this bill to reauthorize and expand funding for programs that aim to prevent family and domestic violence and protect survivors and offered the following statement on its introduction:
“A heartbreaking mark of this pandemic has been the increase in domestic and family violence that continues to affect Americans across the country. We must do all we can to keep children and families safe through this pandemic and in the future. With this bill, we are working hand in hand with state, local, and tribal leadership to assist organizations in the funding process as they continue their vital work. I’m grateful to my Republican and Democratic colleagues for joining me once again to help prevent violence, protect families, and care for survivors of domestic abuse.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Don Young (R-AK) added:
“Too many families in Alaska and across the country face domestic violence. Tragically, as we spend more time at home, domestic violence rates have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. We must be doing all that we can to prevent domestic violence and provide survivors with the support necessary to live safe, abuse-free lives. I am very proud to join Representatives McBath, Moore, and Katko to introduce the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act. This is an important bill, and it comes at a critical time. Through this legislation, we can better partner with state, local, and tribal organizations to support the work of countless advocates who are making a difference for survivors and their families every day. Our bill also takes crucial steps to ensure that our domestic violence prevention programs are properly-tailored and culturally specific. This is especially important for our state's Alaska Native communities, which face disproportionate levels of crime against women and girls. It is my great hope that through this bill, we can turn the tide in the fight against domestic violence, and send a message of hope to survivors everywhere. I respectfully ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to cosponsor our legislation, and help us get it across the finish line.”
House Education and Labor Committee Republicans opposed this bill as drafted by the committee’s Democratic majority. Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and GOP committee members explained their opposition in the bill’s committee report:
“To fortify family violence prevention resources, Republicans offered a substitute amendment that protects and strengthens this program. The Republican substitute ensures funds will not be spent on abortion services or referrals, protects the rights of faith-based providers to adhere to their faith, and adds greater transparency about the resource centers that may receive funding through this law. This reauthorization proposal is in the best interest of victims of family violence and the people who serve them. FVPSA is too valuable a program to spiral into a political squabble, and it is disappointing that the Democrats would not reauthorize FVPSA in a bipartisan manner.
Survivors of domestic violence deserve Congress’ support, and Republicans offered a proposal that provided an opportunity for a focused, bipartisan reauthorization of FVPSA. Instead, Democrats pushed ahead with an overly prescriptive, partisan proposal that could harm the unborn and kick high-quality providers out of the program. Victims deserve access to the expertise and resources necessary to aid them in their time of crisis, free from political interference. The Democrats’ reauthorization proposal fails to meet that requirement by pandering to progressive advocates rather than supporting survivors.”
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: iStock.com / kieferpix)
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