Federal funding for anti-terrorism and security of nonprofits and houses of worship would see a significant boost under legislation introduced by two key members of Congress in the wake of a Texas synagogue hostage situation early this year.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act of 2022 (H.R. 6825) would expand the Nonprofit Security Grant Program from the $180 million allocated last year to $500 million annually through Fiscal Year 2028. The bill also would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a dedicated office within the agency to administer the program and provide greater outreach, engagement, education, technical assistance, and support to eligible nonprofits.
The measure was introduced last month by key members of the House Committee on Homeland Security: Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Ranking Member John Katko (R-N.Y.). There are 20 additional original co-sponsors, including 19 Democrats and Republican Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), who switched parties several years ago. It advanced out of the committee on March 2.
The legislation has received the endorsement of the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Jewish organizations and lawmakers for years have advocated that the grant funding be doubled to $360 million, according to the Jewish News Syndicate.
“As anti-semitism and hate continue to rise across the country, community and religious institutions need more resources to protect themselves than ever before,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said via a statement. “The recent hostage crisis in Colleyville, Texas highlighted the very real threat facing synagogues and other religious institutions in today’s environment,” he said. The bill would bolster available funds to ensure that the Jewish community as well as other faith-based communities can worship safely and securely, Greenblatt said.