Press Room

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement after the Senate defeated two critical amendments that would have protected victims of sex crimes.

“When the United States Senate protects wasteful and duplicative spending ahead of victims of sex crimes, the American people have to ask serious questions about the competence of their elected leaders. Across America, victims of rape are being abused not just by their attackers but by a system that was designed to help them recover and find justice,” Dr. Coburn said.

Coburn amendment #15, which was defeated by a vote of 46 to 53, would have more quickly resolved rape cases by reducing unnecessary duplication and overlap within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The amendment would have provided at least $600 million to support solving sexual crimes from the savings reached by consolidating and streamlining federal programs.

Coburn amendment #16, which was defeated by a vote of 43 to 57, would have better protected rape victims from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) by allowing for the testing of indicted assailants and providing treatment to survivors who are at risk or infected. The Coburn amendment would have increased penalties to states that refused to implement such laws. The amendment was necessary because states were choosing to accept the penalty enacted in the previous version of the Violence Against Women Act rather than implementing the law.

This amendment would have increased the protection of rape victims by 1) increasing the penalty from 5% to 20% to ensure more grantees provide offender testing; 2) expand the testing to all sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) for which a diagnostic test exists; and 3) require the Justice Department to report annually on grantee compliance with such testing.

Dr. Coburn also voted against the Leahy amendment that sought to increase funding for victims of trafficking without adequately addressing the widespread waste, mismanagement and duplication that already exists in the federal government’s anti-trafficking programs.


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