BLUMENTHAL, MURPHY PUSH FOR FUNDING TO STRENGTHEN SECURITY AT PLACES OF WORSHIP

Critical program on track to be cut by more than 40 percent, Blumenthal and Murphy urge appropriators to reverse course

(Hartford, CT)—Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security urging the committee to maintain funding at $60 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to help strengthen security at places of worship. Currently, the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security’s next fiscal year includes cuts to nonprofit security grants by more than 40 percent at $35 million. New data from the Department of Justice shows hate crimes in America rose 17 percent last year with an even larger increase in anti-Semitic attacks, rising 37 percent in 2017.

“The recent shooting is one in a long history of violence against places of worship and unfortunately there is no indication that these heinous attacks will end,” Blumenthal and Murphy wrote in the letter. “NSGP plays an important role in helping secure places of worship and at-risk nonprofits and could be the difference between a close call and yet another tragedy.”

This letter follows a recent tragic attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where eleven people were killed and seven injured. The NSGP program helps nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack make physical security upgrades and promotes emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration activities between responders at the state and local level, as well as public and private community representatives.

“It is imperative to bolster security for our religious communities in the face of persistent threats of violence.  We strongly urge the committee to reverse course and maintain funding at $60 million for FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program in FY 2019,” the Senators continued.

“Between the Pittsburgh tragedy and new data from the FBI which states hate crimes in the U.S. jumped 17 percent in 2017, including a 37 percent spike in crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions.  Funding is needed more than ever to harden our Jewish institutions against a future attack," said Jewish Federation Associates of Connecticut (JFACT) Executive Director, Michael Bloom.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

November 13, 2018 

The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito
Chairman
Subcommittee on Homeland Security
U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
131 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
 
The Honorable Jon Tester
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Homeland Security
U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
128 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

 


Dear Chairman Capito and Ranking Member Tester:

As you continue to finalize the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, we write urging you to maintain funding at the FY 2018 level of $60 million for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

In light of the tragic attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it is essential for places of worship to have access to grant funding to strengthen their security.  The recent shooting is one in a long history of violence against places of worship and unfortunately there is no indication that these heinous attacks will end.  NSGP plays an important role in helping secure places of worship and at-risk nonprofits and could be the difference between a close call and yet another tragedy.

NSGP provides funding support to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack to make physical security upgrades.  The program also promotes emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration activities between responders at the state and local level, as well as public and private community representatives.  Implementing the core capabilities of the National Preparedness System is essential to achieving success in the five mission areas – to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond, and recover – and is critical to a secure and resilient nation.  For some communities, success may only be possible to achieve with funding provided by NSGP.

The current Senate FY 2019 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill includes cuts to nonprofit security grants by more than 40 percent at $35 million, thereby significantly limiting access to resources for at-risk nonprofit institutions.  It is imperative to bolster security for our religious communities in the face of persistent threats of violence.  We strongly urge the committee to reverse course and maintain funding at $60 million for FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program in FY 2019.

We thank you for your attention to this critical matter.

 

Sincerely,

  

 

 

__________________________                                            __________________________

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL                                                CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY

United States Senate                                                              United States Senate