REP LIEU VOICES SUPPORT FOR SECURITY GRANTS FOR NON PROFIT INSTITUTIONS
LOS ANGELES – Yesterday, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee Rodney Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee Nita Lowey expressing support for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which helps nonprofit institutions protect their communities. In 2016, Congressman Lieu sent a similar letter of support for the measure, which helps nonprofit institutions like synagogues, churches and mosques improve their security protections.
In the letter, Mr. Lieu writes:
- On Saturday, we witnessed the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in United States history as a gunman took the lives of 11 individuals at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. This act of terror underscores the urgent need for Congress to implement solutions to combat anti-Semitism and domestic extremism. To begin to do so, I strongly urge you to ensure that at least $60 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) is included in the final Fiscal Year 2019 Homeland Security bill.
- The attack at the Tree of Life synagogue is part of a larger trend of rising anti-Semitism and hate crimes in the United States and only one of the multiple mass shootings at houses of worship in recent years. According to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2017, 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents were committed, representing a 57 percent increase over the previous year. Similarly troubling, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that hate crimes increased by 12.5 percent in the ten largest cities in the United States in 2017 and by 10.8 percent in Los Angeles. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned that religious and cultural community centers and other soft targets with limited security are vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
- The NSGP has been vital to ensuring that at-risk nonprofit institutions have the resources needed to make security improvements to protect their communities. California alone accounts for more than 16 percent of the eligible urban areas eligible for NSGP funds. Further, in my district in Los Angeles, there are more than 50 religious institutions and schools – common targets for hate crimes. That is why I questioned DHS about the reduction in funding to California-based NSGP applicants in Fiscal Year 2016 and why I was pleased that Congress increased funding for the NSGP the following year and DHS increased funding awarded to California applicants.
- I strongly support the $60 million level of funding for the NSGP included in the House Committee on Appropriations report for Homeland Security. I am, however, concerned that the level of funding recommended by Senate appropriators is only $35 million. It is critical that Congress adopts a funding level of at least $60 million.