WASHINGTON – Congress is poised to approve $41 million sought by the Obama administration to examine untested DNA evidence collected from rape victims and held by state and local police across the country.

No firm count exists, but recent discoveries in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and Detroit suggest that the nationwide total of untested kits never sent to laboratories and kept in police storage exceeds 100,000 – some of them held for decades. Victims usually are unaware that their kits have not been tested, and members of both parties have called the backlogs a national scandal.

On Tuesday, the full Senate is set to take up the funding as part of a $51.2 billion 2015 budget bill for the Justice Department and other agencies that is expected to win floor approval. The House voted May 30 for a budget bill with the funding.

“Whether sexual-assault kits are sitting in crime labs or police lockers, victims deserve to know they haven’t been forgotten,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. “The evidence needs to be processed, the case investigated, the criminals brought to justice, and victims provided the services they need.”

The votes come as cities are discovering caches of untested kits and as concern has grown in some quarters over how the Justice Department has allocated more than $1.2 billion since 2004 for programs to expand DNA testing at crime labs. While officials said the funding was aimed at clearing rape-kit backlogs, much of the money has gone toward broader purposes.

While the problem of untested evidence kits in crime labs has been known, the discovery of kits never submitted to labs has re-energized advocates, who say the new grants would specifically target rape kits and help local authorities prioritize and reform the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes overall.