The domestic violence programs attracted broad bipartisan backing when they were authorized last year as part of an otherwise disputed anti-crime bill. The House initially approved the Violence Against Women Act in 1993 as free-standing legislation, 421 to 0. Supporters range from conservative Republicans like [Orrin G.] Hatch to liberal Democrats like Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.).
In the last three weeks, two House Appropriations subcommittees have approved spending bills for next year that omit two-thirds of the funding authorized for battered women's shelters, rape prevention, child abuse prosecution and other domestic violence programs. The subcommittees approved a combined $74.9 million of the $237.3 million authorized for such programs under the omnibus crime bill.
It is common for annual appropriations to fall far below the level of authorized spending, but a trust fund was supposed to finance the crime legislation from the savings achieved by eliminating 272,000 federal jobs. During last year's negotiations on the crime legislation, Rep. John R. Kasich (R-Ohio), now House Budget Committee chairman, also insisted that spending authorized by the bill not exceed the amount available in the anti-crime trust fund.
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