tv President Biden Signs Bill to Sustain Crime Victims Fund Act CSPAN July 22, 2021 3:17pm-3:36pm EDT
president biden: thank you. every time i hear that i wonder when he's coming. [laughter] president biden: please, everybody sit down. thank you. let me begin by doing something that no speaker should ever do by apologizing. i got a little tied up in the other office i work in. pat and i apologize for keeping you waiting because i know you are all equally busy as i am. i want to thank you. today i think is a day of hope. i mean that, a day of hope and healing for victims of crime and organizations that support those victims of crime. i want to thank the vice president and the second gentleman, senators durbin -- i think he's here. i thought i saw him. senator durbin and baldwin and
grassley and murkowski. representatives nadler and fitzpatrick and jackson lee and wagner and scanlon. and everyone who has helped make possible this moment, including so many of you who are here today that i haven't mentioned. when someone commits a crime, it's not enough to bring the predator to justice. we also need to support the victims. it's something way back 150 years ago when i was chairman of the judiciary committee we spent a lot of time working on, setting up victims' funds. that's what this crime victims fund does. in many years of working on the issue, i visited an awful lot of domestic violence shelters. every time i'd go into a city i'd quietly before i went to where i was supposed to be quietly slip in and spend time in a domestic violence shelter
to speak to the people giving the services and people getting the services. and, you know, many times the body language that you'd see when you walked in was one of the victims of crime find themselves almost curled up in a ball. they were still suffering from a serious, serious, not only physical abuse they received but, quite frankly, the emotional abuse. you can see the pain. you can see the pain was still with them and you wondered when was this going to abate no matter what we did. according to the c.d.c. -- and i think senator feinstein remembers i got in trouble because when i was pushing the legislation way back in those days i said i'm convinced that women who are victims of domestic violence suffer from posttraumatic stress no different than a soldier being shot at regularly.
come home and every time your significant other would come home, if dinner wasn't ready, they'd smash your head against the wall. there's no difference in being shot at. the c.d.c. two years later came out and said survivors can experience mental health problems and such depression and symptoms of posttraumatic stress syndrome. even before research confirmed, you could see it. and there are economic costs for survivors as well. medical costs, lost productivity from work, and navigating the court system. that's why victims compensation program helps victims and families cover the cost they suffered from the crime. they can -- there can be counseling and medical bills, lost wages because you couldn't work, paying for temporary housing for a family fleeing abuse. even fixing a broken door kicked down by an abuser.
and the vast majority of children out in the street are the children who are in fact the children of abused women. it can also be a long-term support survivors need to heal. every time and every single sense of the word. in 2019, these victims compensation funds went directly to 230,000 victims. 230,000. these funds got to states, territories and tribes to support thousands of victim service organizations, and these organizations have provided services and support to over 13 million survivors. by the way, last night, some of you heard me talk about the need for more policing that understands the need for communities and citizens. these funds are also going to law enforcement agencies to support training on how to respond to victims who have experienced trauma. in 1984, i was proud to support the passage of the victims crime act and created -- that created
this fund. i'm also proud to sign the law that significantly strengthens it today. this fund doesn't take a dime of taxpayers' money. it uses fines and penalties paid by convicted federal criminals. however, fines from what are called nonprosecutorial agreements or deferred prosecution agreements did not go into this victims crime fund in the past. since, there's been more of these agreements in recent years, the funds are being depleted. that meant dramatic cuts in the funding it could provide for victims and for organizations to support these victims. between 2017 and today, the amount of money in these funds has gone down 92%, which has resulted in a 70% reduction in victims assistance programs and grants. this means that for a lot of victims, the help they need isn't there any longer. when my son, beau, was attorney
general of the state of delaware, he got support to victims, especially to protect and care for child victims. and i know that as san francisco's d.a. and california attorney general, vice president harris expanded support for victims of crime and launched one of the nation's first medical centers focused on treating childhood trauma caused by violence in the home or in the community. this bill is going to allow us make sure that all the fines and penalties that are from federal cases go into the victims -- the crime victims fund to rebuild this fund because it's badly needed. 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. in order to provide more access and safety and services for victims of gender-based violence, it's long past time to
re-authorize and strengthen the protections tlul the violence -- through the violence against women act. please, please. [applause] president biden: you know, you can -- from all experience, you can come together in a bipartisan, bicameral way and to pass this bill. we need to do the same thing to re-authorize the violence against women act without further delay. you know, after these changes in the victims crime act passed this week, a leader from one of the states coalition against domestic violence sent a letter to our national organization and she wrote about working in a shelter where their ability to serve people rose and fell based on the funds of victims services. she told a story of a client she lost to domestic violence homicide because the budget cuts left them without space at the shelter where staff needed to
help this particular woman. upon learning about the law i'm about to sign today she wrote, and i quote, i think about her every day. this is going to be truly lifesaving, end of quote. this is what you've done, truly lifesaving. in closing, i want to thank those angels working in the frontlines to help these victims, especially during this pandemic that's made the work both more difficult, more in demand, and more dangerous. i want to thank the advocates who mobilized and bring together these important changes in the law. there are thousands of people out there who may not know about the work you did to get this bill passed, but they'll know that they're getting the help they need to put their lives back together and move toward healing and toward justice. i'll now have the great honor of signing the bill. i'd invite the sponsors to come
which one was signed. [indiscernible] >> somebody's back here, mr. president. president biden: we have two more. who doesn't have one? [laughter] president biden: anybody that doesn't have one, i promise you -- >> i gave them away. [laughter] president biden: would you happen to have one of my pens? come here. ms. jackson lee: here's one coming.
experienced that day. watch the hearing live tuesday at 9:30 eastern on c-span3, online at c-span.org, or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> sunday on "q&a", "washington post" syndicated finance columnist on her book what to do with your money when crisis hits. >> it's not a matter if there's going to be another economic crisis but when. and so we want to set you up actually for the next crisis. it's actually not all about covid but what recession is going to come down the road. it may be long. it may be short. but life is going to happen. and i need you to prepare now. you know, i do a lot of financial seminars in my community. and it's so hard to get people to save when they're doing well because they're doing well. they don't think that tomorrow
is going to have an issue. and so you need to save, you need to do that. yeah. i'll get to it. i'll get to it. when a crisis hits, everybody is in frugal mode. they're ready to do it. but that's too late. the time to do that is when you have the resources, when you have the ability to cut. it's easy to cut when you can't pay for anything or things are shut down. and so i wanted to say, let's prepare. let's be like that fireman or that firewoman who's ready for that next fire. they hope it won't happen, but they're going to be prepared for it. >> "washington post" syndicated columnist michelle singletary on c-span's "q&a." you can listen to it as a podcast wherever you get your podcast. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we're funded by these television
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