The Obama administration announced Thursday its teaming up with the New York City district attorney on a $79 million effort to speed testing of sexual assault evidence kits. The federal government will kick in $41 million in grants while New York will provide $38 million to clear a backlog of untested kits in 27 states. “When we solve these cases, we get rapists off the streets,” Vice President Biden said in a statement. “The grants we’re announcing today to reduce the national rape kit backlog will bring that sense of closure and safety to victims while improving community safety.” The rape kit backlog is a major issue for law enforcement and women’s groups.
President Obama signs executive orders on gun violence flanked by 8-year old letter writer Hinna Zeejah (L), 10-year old letter writer Taejah Goode (3rd L), 11-year old letter writer Julia Stokes and 8-year old letter writer Grant Fritz (R)
Julia and Taejah’s letters
President Barack Obama signs letters written by Hinna Zeejah, Grant Fritz, Julia Stokes, and Teja Goode backstage in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium after unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, Jan. 16. The children wrote to President Obama in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama in the Connecticut Post: As a society, our first task must be to care for our children – to shield them from harm and give them the tools they need not only to pursue their dreams, but to help build this country. That is how we will be judged. And in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, it’s clear we have a long way to go.
That’s why, last month, I asked Vice President Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. And on Wednesday, I put forward a specific set of proposals based on Joe’s recommendations. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.
As President, I’m committed to doing my part. That’s why I signed 23 executive actions giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
First Lady Michelle Obama is picked up by U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova during a greet with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, at the U.S. Olympic Training Facility at the University of East London July 27. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
….. with Joshua Wilkins-Waldron during a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London, July 27 (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
First Lady Michelle Obama greets former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, right, and her children, Skye and Robert, following a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
President Barack Obama talks with Grant Colfax, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, in the Red Room before the White House International AIDS Conference reception, July 26, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)