Tester Helps Send SURVIVE Act to Senate Floor
Bill to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Epidemic Gets Bipartisan Approval from Committee
(U.S. Senate) - After reintroducing the SURVIVE Act last week, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today voted to send this critical piece of legislation to the Senate floor. The bill, aimed at addressing the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic, received unanimous support from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee this afternoon.
"We introduced a bill with broad bipartisan support last week and today it's headed to the Senate floor - that's how Congress is supposed to work," Tester said. "This legislation will make a real difference for survivors of this epidemic and I'll be working hard to keep the momentum going so we can get this bill to the President's desk by spring."
Tester's Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act will give tribes access to a critical source of funding they can use to help survivors of sexual and domestic violence get back on their feet.
Currently, states can apply for resources through the Crime Victims Fund directly, but tribes have to go through the states. As a result, these funds rarely make their way to Indian Country. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Indian Country received less than 0.5 percent of Crime Victims Fund resources between 2010 and 2014.
That's why the SURVIVE Act will establish an annual five percent set aside that tribes can use to help survivors pay for shelter, medical care, counseling, and legal assistance. Tester originally introduced this bill after hearing directly from tribal leaders about the need for more victim services across Indian Country.
As a senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Tester has taken a three-pronged approach to addressing the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic focused on raising awareness, providing resources to support survivors, and empowering tribes to bring assailants to justice.