In 1984, a young woman named Carol Bart was kidnapped outside her Dallas apartment and raped at knifepoint. She submitted herself to an invasive rape kit to collect evidence, which then sat idle for 24 years.When the kit was finally tested, DNA samples promptly identified her attacker as Joseph Houston Jr., a jailed sex offender who had attempted to rape another woman only four months after he raped Bart.By 2008, unfortunately, the statute of limitations on Bart's rape had expired, and her attacker could not be brought to justice for the crime.Tragically, Bart's case isn't an anomaly; there are thousands of others like it. For example, a Dallas woman named Lavinia Masters was raped during a home invasion in 1985 when she was just 13, but her kit wasn't tested until 2006, at which point the statute of limitations had lapsed.The DNA profile from her kit was later linked to an incarcerated serial rapist.Or consider Brian Brockington. He was accused of three violent assaults in New York, and prosecutors had strong DNA evidence linking him to each one. But he is now free because the relevant DNA samples weren't tested until after the statute of limitations deadline.The root of the problem is a massive backlog of untested rape kits. Texas has some 20,000 untested kits, while the nationwide backlog could be as large as 400,000. It stems primarily from a lack of funding and a lack of adequate record-keeping. Very few law enforcement agencies comprehensively track or conduct audits of their rape-kit backlog.To reduce the backlog and help bring violent criminals to justice, I have introduced the Sexual Assault Forensic Registry (SAFER) Act, which would increase the federal funds available for rape-kit testing but would not increase the deficit.Under current law, 40 percent of all grants to state and local law enforcement agencies under the Debbie Smith Act must be used to address untested DNA evidence. The SAFER Act would raise this threshold to 75 percent. It would also make 7 percent of Debbie Smith Act funds available for audits of rape-kit backlogs.The SAFER Act would reallocate federal appropriations; it would not create new spending.To ensure a measure of accountability, the bill would require grant recipients to participate in a Sexual Assault Forensics Evidence Registry. Recipients would have to provide a few pieces of critical information about each untested rape kit, such as the date when the assault was committed, the jurisdiction where it was committed, the date when a statute of limitations would bar prosecution and the testing status of the kit.This registry would help prioritize analysis of untested kits, and it would help the federal government disburse the funds more effectively.Meanwhile, it would increase government transparency by requiring the Justice Department to make information about the size and scope of the rape-kit backlog available on a website.The bill, scheduled for a Judiciary Committee vote today, has broad bipartisan support in the Senate, and a companion bill in the House of Representatives has more than 30 co-sponsors, including members of every ideological stripe.Fundamentally, the SAFER Act is about securing justice for victims of sexual assault and protecting society from predators.We now have the technology to solve past crimes and prevent future ones. There is no excuse for inaction.John Cornyn is a Republican senator from Texas and a member of the Judiciary Committee.