The Jewish News: Federal Funding for Faith-Based Protection from Terrorism Reaches Senate
The largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the U.S., The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, welcomes the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee’s approval of the bipartisan Protecting Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations From Terrorism Act.
By increasing funding for the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to $75 million for fiscal years 2020-2024, houses of worship, religious schools and nonprofits will have increased protection from terrorist attacks.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced the bill in response to the deadly attacks on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the Chabad of Poway in California. It mirrors the U.S. House’s passage of similar bipartisan legislation from last week – the Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act.
“Places of worship should be a safe haven, where people can practice their religion without fear of being attacked. Tragically, the rise in the number of violent attacks at synagogues, mosques and churches across the country has shattered that expectation,” said Senator Peters. “We must do more to address these insidious threats, and stand up to the hatred and bigotry that drives them. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that houses of worship, cultural institutions and nonprofit organizations in Michigan and across the country can enhance their security and continue serving our communities.”
The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center speaks with legislators annually to push for an increase in funding. Over the last two years, $60 million has been allocated to the NSGP. Each year, the NSGP provides grants up to $100,000 a piece to high-risk organizations.
The Orthodox Union, which helped create the NSGP along with the Jewish Federations of North America and other Jewish organizations, will continue to work for increased funding of $90 million for the grant program as approved last week by the full House Appropriations Committee.
“We deeply appreciate Sens. Portman and Peters, along with other legislators across the political spectrum, for their tireless support to keep our community safe. Everyone, regardless of their religion, should be able to live without fear of attacks, especially in spaces that serve as our safe-havens,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, in a press release.
Source: The Jewish News
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