Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Frustrated by repeated delays and inaction by the Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) successfully pushed for the inclusion of an amendment to the FY2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act that would force the DOJ to report to Congress a date for the full implementation of the Ashanti Alert.

“Every day that the Department of Justice delays in getting this alert system up and running, we fail in providing our law enforcement the tools they need to help save lives,” said Sen. Warner. “Frankly, there is no excuse for the DOJ’s failure to follow through on implementing the Ashanti Alert system or even provide a timeline for when it will be operational. With the inclusion of this amendment, the DOJ will finally have to provide some answers for the Billie family and those who’ve pushed for this lifesaving alert.”

The amendment will be included as part of the “minibus II” funding package that funds several federal agencies, including the DOJ. It forces the DOJ to provide Congress with a progress report of the Ashanti Alert implementation 30 days immediately after the bill is signed into law. Additionally, the amendment requires that the DOJ establish a deadline for full implementation of the Ashanti Alert Act no later than 90 days after the enactment of this bill. Following today’s Senate passage, Sen. Warner will continue to push the provision forward as the House of Representatives and Congress work through the spending bill process.

Sen. Warner’s amendment was also cosponsored by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Sen. Warner, who secured unanimous passage of this bill through the Senate on December 6, 2018, has been a leader in the fight to implement the Ashanti Alert. In August, he reiterated the need for the alert’s swift implementation, following a meeting with Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sullivan. He has also previously demanded in-person meetings with the DOJ, repeatedly pressed the DOJ for implementation updates, and urged congressional appropriators to provide full funding for the timely implementation of the Ashanti Alert.

The amendment language can be found here.