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Biden signs crime victims fund replenishment bill

<i>Andrew Harnik/AP</i><br/>President Joe Biden signs H.R. 1652
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Joe Biden signs H.R. 1652

By Donald Judd, CNN

President Joe Biden celebrated what he called “a day of hope” Thursday before signing the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill that aims to provide assistance for crime victims, including counseling expenses, medical bills and lost wages.

Biden thanked lawmakers of both parties in the room, including Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

“This bill is going to allow us to make sure that all the fines and penalties that are from federal cases go to the victims, the Crime Victims Fund, to rebuild this fund, because it’s badly needed,” Biden told those gathered in the East Room of the White House. “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.”

The President took the opportunity to call on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, telling lawmakers in the room, “It’s long past time to reauthorize and strengthen the protections through the Violence Against Women Act — please, please.”

“We know from experience you all can come together in a bipartisan, bicameral way to pass this bill. We need to do the same thing to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act without further delay,” he added.

Biden also offered shout-outs to his late son, Beau Biden, and to Vice President Kamala Harris, who as former attorneys general of their states prioritized funding for victims of assault.

“It’s a great honor to be able to sign this,” Biden said, signing the bill. “This is one of those deals where what they did is literally and figuratively going to change the lives of women and children and some men out there.”

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