Wins support of protections for crime victims fund
Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo voted no today as the Senate Budget Committee approved a Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Budget Resolution on a 13-10 vote along party lines. The daylong markup in committee included yes votes on two key amendments offered by Crapo concerning Americans' right to know about the federal debt and on funding issues related to assisting victims of domestic violence and other crimes.
"While Idahoans, and Americans across the country are cutting back on their spending during these difficult times, this budget proposes to further increase federal spending to unprecedented levels and increase the public debt by almost $5 trillion over the next five years, placing an additional debt burden of more than $16,000 on the head of every single American," Crapo said. "That is simply not responsible."
Crapo noted that information on the debt is usually "buried in some table in the back of the budget plan. This is the people's money and they deserve to see clearly how spending decisions by the Congress are reflected in a rising national debt that will be placed on our children and grandchildren," he said. "The gross national debt now sits at $12 trillion. The amendment I offered today would require this budget blueprint and those in later years to contain a 'debt disclosure statement.' If the Budget Resolution does not carry this disclosure, it could be ruled out of order on the Senate floor." Crapo's amendment was adopted by the Budget Committee on a voice vote.
Crapo's other amendment would stop the Senate from using money in the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) to be used as an "offset" to allow larger spending in other areas. The CVF does not contain taxpayer dollars, but is a dedicated fund, established by Congress, which collects fines, penalty assessments and bond forfeitures collected from convicted federal criminals. In the past, Congress would attempt to "cap" spending in the Crime Victims Fund by using the "offset" to increase other federal spending. Crapo calls the practice "deceptive and misleading to the victim rights advocates who count on federal support in the ongoing effort to end domestic abuse."
Both of Crapo's amendments were accepted by voice vote as part of the Budget Committee's consideration of the FY 2010 budget resolution. Crapo said he would continue to take action on the floor of the Senate to support the amendments, but not the unsustainable levels of new taxes, new spending and exponential increases in the debt. The Budget Resolution is expected to be considered on the Senate floor next week.