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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Senate Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Security Resources for Faith-Based Institutions

The Senate passed legislation (H.R. 2476) authorizing $75 million annually for FYs 2020-2024 for the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which provides grants to nonprofits and faith-based organizations to help secure their facilities against a potential terrorist attack.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sponsored the companion legislation to the Protecting Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations From Terrorism Act (S. 1539) sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI).

Of the $75 million total, $50 million will be available for nonprofits located within high-risk urban areas, and the remaining $25 million will be available for organizations that fall outside of those areas. Under the legislation, funding may be used for target-hardening activities, training for personnel, and any other appropriate activity, as defined by the FEMA Administrator.

“It’s a sad fact that synagogues, churches, and mosques are facing the threat of violence at the hands of extremists of all ideologies,” said Thompson. “While we need to continue our work to eradicate all forms of extremism and counter domestic terrorism, non-profits need our help now in keeping their houses of worship safe and secure. This bill will give key resources to help our communities have the peace of mind they deserve.  I thank my colleagues in the Senate for recognizing the need for this bipartisan legislation and for getting it through Congress by the end of the year.”

“Ensuring that synagogues, religious and cultural institutions, and nonprofit organizations have the resources and training they need to secure their facilities is one-way Congress can help address this unnecessary violence that has tragically become more and more common,” said Portman. “As I’ve said many times, there is no place for hatred or bigotry of any kind toward our fellow citizens. The threats and senseless attacks we’ve seen across our country are attacks on our values and this bipartisan legislation will help protect faith and cultural based institutions in Ohio and across our country.”

“In recent years, we have witnessed a tragic rise in threats and attacks on synagogues, churches, mosques, and other houses of worship throughout the country,” said Peters. “We must do more to combat this senseless violence and ensure that Americans of all faiths can worship without fearing for their safety. I’m tremendously proud that the Senate has unanimously approved this bipartisan legislation, and look forward to the President’s signature on this important bill in the days to come.”

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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