Congress approves extra anti-terror funds

The U.S. Congress approved a $15 million increase in federal funding to protect high-risk institutions from terrorist attacks.

Jewish groups have received a lion’s share of the funds since the program was instituted by the Department of Homeland Security in 2005. Last year they received 251 of the 308 grants awarded.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) was instrumental in the fight to include the extra funds in the $556 billion omnibus spending bill for next year that was approved Tuesday by the Senate.

“This funding is an important victory for the hospitals, schools, community centers, synagogues and churches that need protection from terrorist violence,” said Mikulski, the original author of the provision. “This is a federal investment in added security to help protect organizations at risk.”

The funding goes to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness to distribute to high-risk nonprofit organizations. The nonprofits have used past federal funds for security enhancements such as concrete barriers, cameras and safety glass.

The House of Representatives had adopted a $516 billion spending bill Monday. The Iraq portion of the plan is in question and is going back to the House.

The bill then goes to President Bush for his signature.

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