“Vice President Joe Biden joined Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland Monday to announce that $41 million in funding from the federal budget will be used to test backlogged rape kits sitting in storage around the country.
There are approximately 400,000 untested rape kits gathering dust in U.S. crime labs. (That’s considered a conservative estimate since police departments are not required to report these numbers). While these kits sit in storage facilities, the rapists they could have put behind bars continue to roam the streets, and sometimes go on to commit other acts of sexual violence.
Though certain cities like Detroit, Houston and New York City have taken leadership on the rape-kit backlog by allocating funding and resources to make sure they are tested, activists have been urging the federal government to step in and make a more significant contribution.
This isn’t the first time Biden and Mikulski have teamed up to advocate for women: The two also were integral in passing the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, a landmark piece of legislation that’s likely responsible for changing and even saving women’s lives. The law helped rape survivors specifically by ensuring that they would never have to pay for a rape-kit exam and would never have their sexual history used against them in a rape trial.
[Biden]: “More crimes can be solved. More crimes can be prevented, and more women will be given back their lives … It brings closure to the victims, and it brings rapists to justice.”
The 114th Congress was sworn in Tuesday, with Republicans formally taking control of both chambers for the first time in eight years. There were the usual procedural ceremonies, but by far the most entertaining bit of theater was provided by Vice President Joe Biden, who was in top form.
“In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country – much less a longtime foreign adversary – that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments – a message that is as false as it is dangerous.”
My brother was dining at a restaurant in Atlanta when the Vice President randomly walked in. He was the only guy at the table and Biden walked up to him and said “You must be the man of the table huh? Well let’s take a selfie.”