(JTA) — Jewish federations lauded a proposed increase in federal security grant funding that helps protect Jewish institutions.
Congressional leaders reached agreement Sunday night on a $1 trillion budget plan that includes increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program by $5 million from the 2016 allocation, the federations said Monday in a statement. The House and the Senate are expected to vote on the bill later this week.
“We are grateful that Congress has acted upon our concerns and has agreed to direct $25 million in new funding to the NSGP program this year in bipartisan spending legislation that is expected to pass later this week,” William Daroff, director of the Washington office for The Jewish Federations of North America, said in the statement.
“NSGP grant awards protect against threats and mitigate the effects of attacks, including the installation of access controls, barriers, blast-proofing, monitoring and surveillance capability, and cyber security enhancements.”
A budget plan by President Donald Trump proposed rolling the funds for the program into broader federal emergency preparedness funds. The vast majority of funds have helped upgrade security at Jewish institutions.
Last month, Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the House called in a letter for increased funding to the program, from $20 million to $50 million a year.
Nearly 150 JCCs and other Jewish institutions have received bomb threats and three Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized this year. In March, an Israeli-American teen was arrested in Israel on suspicion of calling in more than 100 bomb threats. Last month, the U.S. Justice Department charged the teen, Michael Kadar, with making threatening calls to JCCs in Florida, conveying false information to the police and cyberstalking.