House votes to boost security grant funding by $30 million

The House approved the amendment by a voice vote, after the Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment to boost funding for the NSGP

MARCO BELLO/AFP via Getty Images

A Miami Beach police patrol drives past Temple Emanu-El synagogue in Miami Beach, Florida, on October 9, 2023, after Hamas launched an attack on Israel.

The House voted on Wednesday to add $30 million to its proposed funding allocation for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2025.

The House initially proposed funding the program at $305 million, repeating 2023 funding levels, which supporters of the program called woefully inadequate, given the rise in threats to Jewish and other communities since Oct. 7 and significant existing funding shortages for the program. The new amendment, approved by a voice vote, would boost that to $335 million.

The change reflects bipartisan support for the program in the House, despite the fact that an amendment to boost funding for the program — by a larger amount and pulling from funds to build a southern border wall — failed in the Appropriations Committee earlier this month.

But this will not be the end of the battle over the program’s 2025 funding, with some advocates continuing to push for a much more sizable increase.

“We are grateful for the $30 million increase to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) that passed today, but caution Congress that $335 million is a far cry from what Jewish institutions need to combat the dangerous antisemitism sweeping the nation,” Nathan Diament, executive director of public policy for the Orthodox Union said in a statement.

Diament said that the demonstration outside a Los Angeles synagogue over the weekend, which turned violent, made it “abundantly clear that Congress must do more to meet the urgency of the moment.” He called on both chambers of Congress to work to further increase funding.

Other Jewish community leaders also highlighted the events in Los Angeles as proof of the need for this program.

“These life-savings funds are as critical as ever, as antisemitic incidents move off of college campuses and across the United States,” Karen Paikin Barall, vice president of government relations for the Jewish Federations of North America, said. “What happened over the weekend at the Adas Torah temple is a clear indicator of just why this money is critical to protecting Jewish communities.”

The amendment was led by Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Michael McCaul (R-TX) and introduced by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)

“This weekend’s disturbing incident in Los Angeles, where a synagogue was targeted and access was blocked by violent protesters, serves as a stark reminder of the increasing threats facing the American Jewish community,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “This critical program literally protects lives and must be sufficiently funded. We welcome continued bipartisan leadership to protect Jewish institutions and vulnerable communities across the country and hope to see the Senate further increase funding for this program.”

The amendment that passed on the House floor pulled funding from procurement, construction and improvements for the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security.

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s homeland security subcommittee, had argued in committee that the program was receiving adequate funding, and that funding was instead not being distributed quickly enough. His position has prompted pressure from the Jewish community.

Diament penned an op-ed in the Nevada Globe calling on Amodei to “step up” and work with colleagues to significantly increase funding for the NSGP, calling it “the most concrete way to tackle antisemitism.”

“Now is the time to surge resources to secure Jewish schools, houses of worship, and non-profit institutions. It is precisely the wrong time to cut security funding for vulnerable communities,” Diament wrote. “And yet, that is exactly what some in Congress have proposed.”

The Homeland Security bill is unlikely to be enacted into law in its current form, especially not before the 2024 election.

Separately, the House narrowly passed, by a 206-205 vote, an amendment barring the administration from implementing a program allowing Palestinian Authority passport holders legally in the U.S. to remain in the U.S. and receive work permits for at least 18 months.

All Democrats voted no, joined by Reps. Mike Garcia (R-CA) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colon (R-PR).

And by a voice vote, the House approved an amendment to effectively eliminate the salary of Nejwa Ali, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudication officer who previously served as a spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation organization and who allegedly posted pro-Hamas, antisemitic anti-Israel content on social media. Ali was reportedly put on leave in October.

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