The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has serious concerns about President Trump’s dangerous fiscal year 2018 budget. This budget inappropriately reallocates VOCA funds and decimates many programs on which victims and survivors rely. We call on federal Appropriators to reject this budget and to prioritize the needs of victims, survivors, and average Americans over cutting taxes for the wealthy and significantly increasing a military budget.
“This administration has once again demonstrated that they have little or no regard for those less vulnerable and that their priority is for the wealthy and those who do not rely on critical services,” said Ruth M. Glenn, NCADV’s Executive Director.
Victims and survivors rely on many of the social safety net and entitlement programs this budget proposes to cut or to entirely eliminate. Cutting these programs will trap victims and survivors in abusive relationships and create barriers to healing. For example, many low-income victims and survivors rely on Medicaid to access health care. Currently, all Americans who are eligible for Medicaid have access, but this budget recommends letting states choose between making Medicaid a block grant or receiving a per capita payment. Such a plan would remove tens of millions of people from Medicaid, including many victims and survivors, reduce benefits such as mental health access, and allow states to divert funding from healthcare to fill gaps in their budgets. Victims and survivors rely on Medicaid and other federal programs to access the physical and mental health care they need to heal. It also creates significant barriers to accessing safety for victims and survivors with critical medical needs who rely on their abuser’s insurance for their health care.
This budget also drastically cuts other programs that empower victims and survivors economically to leave their abusers such as SNAP (food stamps), Social Security Disability, Community Block Grants, heating assistance, and many other safety net programs on which victims, survivors, their children, and millions of other hardworking Americans rely. It also eliminates the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal aid to countless victims and survivors.
Furthermore, this budget raids the Crime Victims Fund to pay for other programs, including $1.3 billion that is ‘permanently reduced’. It also funds almost all of VAWA in addition to several other programs from the Fund, reallocating money that is statutorily directed toward victims and survivors to fund law enforcement and other activities. We do, however, applaud the inclusion of a 5% tribal funding stream to ensure victims and survivors in some of our most marginalized communities have access to important, life-saving services.
NCADV also strongly opposes anti-immigrant provisions that make victims, survivors, and communities less safe, including provisions that mandate local law enforcement undermine community trust by carrying out federal immigration enforcement activities and other provisions that prevent victims and survivors from seeking and receiving justice.
Although this budget does not cut VAWA funding, and we greatly appreciate the inclusion of a VAWA-funded program on firearms homicide reduction and the VOCA tribal funding stream, it does not consider or address the barriers victims and survivors must overcome to find safety and well-being. The cuts to vital safety net and social service programs, the end of Medicaid as an entitlement program, and many other provisions in this budget increase barriers for victims and survivors who are seeking to leave abusive relationships. It also threatens their ability to access the services necessary for them to heal and to thrive.