Cline, McBath introduce POWER Act to boost domestic violence protections

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Congressman Ben Cline, R-Va., and Congresswoman Lucy McBath, D-Ga., have introduced H.R. 6685 – the bipartisan Protect Our Women and Waive Emergency Requirements (POWER) Act.

For the past three decades, the Family Violence Prevention Services Act has been a critical piece of legislation supporting services such as emergency shelter and related assistance programs for victims of domestic violence and their children through federal grants.

These funds, allocated by the federal government, require many subgrantees to provide a non-federal match of $1 for every $5 of funding received. This match can be met through cash or “in-kind” contributions, such as facilities or equipment usage, volunteer hours, and more.

H.R. 6685 temporarily waives the non-federal match requirement on FVPSA grant funds during the coronavirus pandemic.

“By temporarily suspending the non-federal match requirement in the Family Violence Prevention Services Act, Congress can ensure that support services remain available to victims during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cline said. “Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have made it nearly impossible for entities to utilize the ‘in-kind’ contribution option specified in the FVPSA and is why the POWER Act is necessary to safeguard programs for domestic violence victims across the country.”

“Since this public health crisis began, the nation has seen a tragic increase in the frequency and severity of domestic violence claims,” McBath said. “Organizations that provide resources for survivors and those experiencing violence need our support to continue to serve their communities. I’m glad to take this step with my colleague across the aisle to adapt funding programs to continue to support these organizations as they protect families and work tirelessly to prevent violence.”

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