Pascrell and McCaul lead 161 members of Congress demanding $360 million to protect places of worship
NSGP provides critical grants to protect synagogues, churches and mosques as domestic extremism continues to rise
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Mike McCaul (R-TX-10) have led 161 House colleagues calling for a significant increase in funding for the Goal Security Grant Program nonprofit (NSGP) program for fiscal year 2023. In a letter to Homeland Security Subcommittee leaders, members formally requested that the NSGP be funded at $360 million, to be split equally between the initiative NSGP’s Urban Area Security System (UASI) and the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP).
“The nonprofit security grant program is perhaps our best weapon in responding to this [growing] threatens. The NSGP supports critical security investments, such as physical security improvements, emergency preparedness planning, training and exercises, and enhanced engagement and collaboration between representatives of the public and private communities and their national and local government agencies responsible for homeland security and emergency management,” members write to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee.
The members conclude“For these reasons, we respectfully urge you to strengthen the nonprofit security grant program by funding the NSGP UASI no less than $180 million and no less than $180 million for the grant program at internal state security NSGP.”
Because the faith-based community and nonprofit institutions often lack the resources to deter, detect, and prevent violent extremist attacks on their own, the US Department of Homeland Security has urged governments to invest in filling the void.
Rep. Pascrell is a longtime congressional leader in safeguarding houses of worship. On February 23, 2022, Pascrell joined local community leaders in Passaic, New Jersey to stress the importance for Congress to increase funding for the NSGP to protect local synagogues and other places of worship in north of Jersey and across America. Also in February 2022, Pascrell led a bipartisan letter signed by 175 of his colleagues demanding a dramatic raise. A few weeks later, Congress passed legislation to increase funding for the NSGP UASI and SHSGP this fiscal year to the all-time high of $250 million.
On May 3, 2021, Representatives Pascrell and John Katko (R-NY-24), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, led 143 House members calling for the NSGP program to be funded at $360 million. of dollars.
Rep. Pascrell regularly leads the fight to increase funding for the NSGP in the House and works around the clock to secure needed counterterrorism grants for New Jersey. He helped secure more than $9.5 million in funding from the nonprofit Safety Grants Program for New Jersey in July 2020, including $1.08 million for Ninth District Community Centers. In 2020, Rep. Pascrell helped lead legislation that officially authorized nonprofit security grant programs, as the programs had previously only been funded through an annual appropriations process and had never been officially authorized.
The full text of the members’ letter is below.
April 25, 2022
Dear Presidents DeLauro and Roybal-Allard and members of the Granger and Fleischmann rankings,
Thank you for your continued support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Nonprofit Safety Grant Program (NSGP) under the Urban Area Safety Initiative (UASI) and State Homeland Security Grants (SHSGP). Congress appropriated historic $250 million in funding for the NSGP in fiscal year 2022, which was a critical step in meeting the high level of demand for these rescue measures. However, the growing and extraordinary needs of at-risk populations continue to grow exponentially. Therefore, as you draft the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2023, we respectfully request that you fund the UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program at no less than $180 million and not less than $180 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) NSGP.
Earlier this year, another mass attack took place against a faith-based institution that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) called a “terrorism-related” case. Thanks to the work of law enforcement, the taking of armed hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas did not end tragically. Nonetheless, the attack underscored the growing threat to our Jewish communities and other ethnic and minority groups. It is one of many reported incidents over the past year of racially and ethnically motivated violence that has targeted mosques and Islamic centers, historically black colleges and universities, synagogues and Jewish community centers, churches of various denominations and other faith-based and community organizations. . Shootings, arson, bombings, assaults and property damage have all been documented.
We are grateful to the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and state and local law enforcement and first responders who successfully brought an end to the Colleyville Armed Hostage Crisis, and for the dedicated work of the forces order to protect our communities. But the enormity and trauma of the Colleyville attack, much of which was broadcast live around the world, and the insular nature of violent extremists that makes them difficult to identify and disrupt by the forces of the order before an attack,3 reverberated in communities across the country. Experts warn that these types of events serve as a catalyst to energize and encourage other extremists and terrorist groups to commit acts of violence. Even before the Colleyville attacks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that faith communities were in an heightened threat environment, facing increased volatility, unpredictability, and complex threats.
The Security Grants for Nonprofits Program is perhaps our best weapon in dealing with this threat. The NSGP supports critical security investments, such as physical security improvements, emergency preparedness planning, training and exercises, and enhanced engagement and collaboration between representatives of the public and private communities and their national and local government agencies responsible for homeland security and emergency management. Because the faith-based community and nonprofit institutions often lack the resources to deter, detect, and prevent violent extremist attacks on their own, DHS has strongly advised governments to invest in filling the void.
Congress created the NSGP to make these investments by improving the physical security of at-risk faith-based and charitable organizations. Unfortunately, today’s threat environment provides a compelling public interest in protecting our faith communities and nonprofit groups. Successful attacks not only harm the vital health, human, social, cultural, religious and humanitarian services and practices that these institutions provide, but they sow untold anguish in every freedom-loving American.
These collective costs to our country underscore the value of effective NSGP investments and our room for growth. Indeed, DHS reports that the NSGP is consistently oversubscribed in the context of the total program amount requested relative to annual program appropriations (up to $220 million in fiscal year 2021). The increased funding for the program will allow the program to reach more at-risk nonprofits, both in high-risk urban areas and in more rural parts of the country. For these reasons, we respectfully invite you to strengthen the nonprofit Security Grant Program by funding the NSGP UASI no less than $180 million and no less than $180 million for the Security Grant Program NSGP State Interior.
We look forward to working together to protect our at-risk and vulnerable communities and nonprofits from growing extremist and hate-motivated threats. Our Congress cannot fail to rise at this moment. Thank you for your time and consideration of our application.
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