Senator Cornyn

Cornyn: House Must Pass Senate Bill to Fight Rape Kit Backlog

November 30, 2023

The Senate again unanimously has passed the Debbie Smith Act reauthorization.

Unfortunately, the House recently took it up and passed a version of the bill that inadvertently deauthorized existing funds for the Debbie Smith Act.

I encourage the House to take whatever action they need to swiftly take up and pass the Senate version.

WASHINGTON – Today on the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) called on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass his legislation to reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act, which cleared the Senate earlier this month and would provide state and local law enforcement agencies with resources to complete forensic analyses of crime scenes and untested rape kits. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.

“Debbie Smith is a heroic figure. She’s made it her life’s work to eliminate this rape kit backlog, and her work is directly responsible for the testing of hundreds of thousands of rape kits and locking up countless violent criminals.”

“She is the namesake of the Debbie Smith Act, originally signed into law in 2004. As a result, more than 860,000 DNA cases have been prosecuted.”

“Sadly, we’re still facing a 90,000-case backlog.”

“The Senate again unanimously has passed the Debbie Smith Act reauthorization. Unfortunately, the House recently took it up and passed a version of the bill that inadvertently deauthorized existing funds for the Debbie Smith Act.”

“I encourage the House to take whatever action they need to swiftly take up and pass the Senate version to reauthorize the Debbie Smith program for a full five years without jeopardizing any existing funds that are being used by law enforcement to take violent criminals off the street.”