money matters

House boosts proposed NSGP allocation by an additional $20 million

A bipartisan amendment to increase the House’s nonprofit security funding allocation to $335 million was approved as part of an en bloc package on the House floor

Emil Lippe/Getty Images

A Colleyville Police officer is parked in Good Shepherd Catholic Community church on January 15, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas, as police respond reports of a man with a gun was holding hostages at the synagogue.

The House moved on Wednesday to add an additional $20 million to its proposal for 2024 funding for nonprofit security grants, bringing its total proposed allocation to $335 million, $30 million above current levels.

The House approved by a voice vote an amendment boosting funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program introduced by Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) as part of a larger bipartisan en bloc package of amendments to the 2024 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. 

The increased House allocation will likely aid efforts to secure a year-over-year funding increase in final negotiations between the House and the Senate; the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a cut of more than $18 million to the severely underfunded program in its Homeland appropriations proposal, for a funding level of $286.7 million.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their place of worship. But there is a clear gap in need and what funds exist for this essential program,” Pascrell said in a statement. “The United States Congress has a duty to protect these nonprofit organizations and I will continue fighting for increased federal funds that help keep our neighbors safe.”

The House vote was met with praise from Jewish community advocates, who’ve been urging lawmakers to increase funding for the program despite overall budget cuts across many areas of the federal government.

“We appreciate that the House put down a strong marker that NSGP should be increased — and certainly not cut as the currently pending Senate bill would do,” Nathan Diament, the executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, told Jewish Insider. “As everyone knows, the appropriations process is still a long and winding road. But this is a very helpful step along the way.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that “with antisemitism and extremism surging to historic levels, increasing funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program needs to be a national priority for all Americans.” Greenblatt noted that the amendment “brings us closer to the $360 million requested in the President’s budget and called for in the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.”

Karen Paikin Barall, associate vice president of public affairs and executive director of the Advocacy Corps at the Jewish Federations of North America, said the funding “will support Jewish and other faith communities that are working to secure themselves in the face of increasing extremism and hate” and called on the Senate to match the House’s proposed funding level.

“As we just saw at the start of the High Holiday season, the onslaught of threats and assaults on the Jewish community continues relentlessly,” Barall added.

As part of the same en bloc amendment to the Homeland appropriations bill, the House approved an amendment by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) that would add an additional $1 million in funding to “improve access, outreach, and transparency for Nonprofit Security Grant Program applicants,” according to a description of the amendment from Gottheimer’s office.

The House separately approved amendments aiming to eliminate Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’s salary. 

The House has also been considering the Defense Appropriations bill for 2024 this week. In a sign of growing GOP opposition to U.S. aid to Ukraine, 104 Republicans — close to half of the caucus — voted to strip $300 million in Ukraine aid from the defense bill. That’s an increase from 70 Republicans who voted for a similar proposal earlier this year.

The amendment failed, with 330 lawmakers voting against it. But given that some House Republicans had threatened to vote against any defense funding bill containing Ukraine aid, House Republican leadership removed the Ukraine funding from the bill anyway and planned to put the Ukraine aid forward as a standalone measure.

The House also approved by voice votes amendments that sought to defund diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the Pentagon and reduce Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s salary to $1. 

Neither bill has secured final passage yet, and it’s not clear currently whether either has sufficient votes to pass the House.

During the balance of the week, the House is also set to consider the 2024 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs funding bill. 

The proposed en bloc amendment to the bill — which will likely pass easily with bipartisan support — includes an amendment that would provide an additional $1 million to support research by the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism on programs used abroad to combat antisemitism. It includes another amendment that would prohibit funding to support any future Palestinian state unless it also exercises full territorial jurisdiction over the Gaza Strip, which is currently controlled by Hamas terrorists.

Other amendments that are set to be considered on the floor aim to prohibit funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency; block the administration from moving the U.S. embassy in Israel out of Jerusalem; prevent the administration from removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ terrorism designation; end aid to Ukraine; cut off funding to the Lebanese Armed Forces; and eliminate the salaries of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Iran Envoy Rob Malley (who is currently on leave), U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas Greenfield, Chief of the Office of Palestinian Affairs George Noll, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, and Acting Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Constance Mayor.

Separately, Congress seems no closer to averting a government shutdown before the  Saturday midnight deadline, amid continued resistance from House conservatives, and many in Washington are expecting at least a short shutdown. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said yesterday that a proposed stopgap funding bill proposed in the Senate earlier this week would be a nonstarter in the House. That’s in part because the bill contains an additional $6.2 billion in aid to Ukraine.

House Democrats have some uncommon procedural options to force consideration of a bipartisan funding patch, but these methods would require support from some Republicans. Some GOP centrists have said they’ll work with Democrats if conservatives continue to oppose stopgap funding measures, but specific GOP support has not yet materialized.

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