Toomey: federal budget deal raids fund for crime victims

Written by Ben Allen | Nov 11, 2015 3:32 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

(Washington, D.C.) -- While Governor Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders argue over a state budget, politicians in Washington D.C. recently congratulated themselves for reaching a deal on a two-year spending plan.

But Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey isn't happy that the budget raids the Crime Victims Fund for $1.5 billion.

It provides money to states to offer emergency counseling and whatever might be needed after a crime is committed. Money in the program is only supposed to be spent on helping crime victims.

Last year, Pennsylvania collected nearly $18 million from the fund to operate several crisis centers.

Angela Parker-Quarles, a supervisor with Dauphin County Children & Youth, lost her goddaughter to domestic violence.

"Victims service advocates were with us every step of the way. I think we can all agree, there is no price too high to pay for that. They are all reasons these funds should never be cut," says Quarles.

Toomey says the budget deal restricts future spending from the fund, just a year after Congress had removed a cap.

He's proposing legislation to boost funding for victims by more than $60 million in Pennsylvania.

"It means more crime victims will be served, it means more child advocacy centers, it means more rape crisis centers, it means more employees at those centers, it means more care for victims and it's going to help victims heal," he adds.

Toomey says his bill is already out of committee, and has bipartisan support.

Two other Pennsylvania congressman are proposing similar legislation in the House: Democrat Brendan Boyle and Republican Joe Pitts.

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