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EDITORIALS

EDITORIAL: Kudos to Rep. Scott Perry

York Dispatch
  • Scott Perry has introduced a bill to ensure that crime victims get all of the money they deserve.
  • The Dillsburg Republican has managed to get his bill co-sponsored by a Pennsylvania Democrat.
  • It's a rare case of bi-partisanship in Congress. It also happens to be good legislation.

It's no big secret that we haven't seen eye to eye with Rep. Scott Perry on numerous occasions over the years.

In fact, we've often been quite critical of the Dillsburg Republican.

From left, Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico and York County District Attorney Tom Kearney, share a laugh with Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, after Perry's news conference at the York County Children's Advocacy Center Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in York City. Perry unveiled bipartisan legislation designed to ensure that money in the federal Crime Victims Fund is only used to assist crime victims, rather than paying for unrelated federal projects. Amanda J. Cain photo

For instance, in a recent editorial, we took the congressman to task for meeting with, and praising, the leader of an organization labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as "the largest grass-roots anti-Muslim group in America."

On. Dec. 14, Perry posted a photo on his Facebook page of himself with Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT for America, whom he describes as "someone who demands (and deserves) to be heard about the security of our nation."

In an Op-Ed rebuttal to our editorial, Perry called the SPLC an “extremist” and “leftist” group.

That kind of give-and-take is what our democracy should be all about. We can disagree without being completely disagreeable.

At the same time, however, despite our myriad of political differences, we must be willing to give credit to Perry when credit is due.

Now is that time.

Helping crime victims: Perry recently visited the York County Children's Advocacy Center to introduce his latest bill, which would prevent money in the federal Crime Victims Fund from being spent on unrelated projects.

The Crime Victims Fund was established by Congress in 1984 to fund victim services throughout the nation, according to the federal Office for Victims of Crime website. The fund includes money collected from criminal fines, forfeited bail, penalties and special assessments.

The fund collected $12 billion from fiscal years 2010-2014 but disbursed just $3.6 billion, or about 30 percent, of that money to fund victim services during that same time period, according to Perry, who said money has been taken from the fund to pay for unrelated federal projects.

The Fairness for Crime Victims Act of 2017, sponsored by Perry, would require all funds collected for the Crime Victims Fund be spent solely on assisting crime victims.

Perry bill aims to protect crime victims fund

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

It's no secret that Congress is infamous for raiding funds to pay for unrelated projects. It's a shell game of sorts.

It's also shortsighted and unfair.

Money earmarked for crime victims should go to crime victims — period.

Perry, to his credit, understands that. He calls the maneuver a “budget gimmick.”

Perry said his bill would place a "lock box" around the fund to ensure its money isn't used for anything else.

This isn't anything new for Perry. It's a cause that he's long championed.

Even better, Perry's bill is co-sponsored by — hold your breath — a Democrat.

That's right, it's a rare case of actual bi-partisanship in a Congress that's rife with bitter and petty party politics.

Perry's co-sponsor is Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa.

Hopefully, Perry, Boyle and Toomey will shepherd the bill through Congress and our new president, Donald Trump, will sign it into law.

The victims of crime deserve nothing less.

Well done, Mr. Perry.