Gottheimer-backed Bipartisan Bill to Support Counterterrorism Security Grants for Religious Institutions Passes House

Gottheimer urges Senate to pass bill quickly to protect houses of worship, schools, religious institutions from acts of homegrown terror

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Washington, June 11, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, June 10, 2019, a bipartisan bill cosponsored by U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) for investment in counterterrorism security for religious institutions and nonprofits passed the House of Representatives. H.R.2476 – the Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act of 2019 – will authorize the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to provide security for certain tax-exempt organizations that are at risk of a terrorist attack from homegrown and lone wolf, ISIS-inspired terrorists, including local houses of worship, schools, and religious institutions.

Gottheimer has long been committed to encouraging local organizations throughout the Fifth District to apply for the NSGP. This past year, Gottheimer helped local churches, synagogues, and mosques claw back more than $1.8 million to the District from Washington — an increase of 260% percent from the year before.

These grants provide critical investment for target hardening and physical security enhancements to help prevent terrorist attacks. The grant program may also be used to conduct security-related exercises, participate in on-site training, and hire contracted security personnel to protect nonprofits. Now, despite budget proposals calling for cuts to counterterrorism programs, Gottheimer’s focus on ensuring this investment to provide security for local religious institutions and nonprofits is paying off.

“This investment in the Nonprofit Security Grant Program is especially important given the increased threat of violent attacks from homegrown, lone wolf terrorists on our religious institutions. The safety and security of our places of worship is a bedrock American value. That is why my office continues to work with all eligible churches, synagogues and mosques to help claw back more our federal tax dollars to New Jersey to protect our families and communities from threats of violence and homegrown terrorism,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “When it comes to Homeland Security, the stakes are simply too high and this critical investment helps our local families and community institutions protect themselves against homegrown terror. Keeping our families in New Jersey and around the country safe is our most fundamental responsibility as their representatives, and there’s absolutely nothing partisan about that.”

Gottheimer continued, “I strongly urge the Senate to pass this legislation quickly.”

In May of this year, Gottheimer hosted a conference call with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to encourage local organizations to apply for the NSGP program.

Speaking to Gottheimer during the call, Jared Maples, Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) said, “You've been one of the loudest and most consistent voices from our delegation, and indeed all of Congress, as far as getting these dollars out to the community, into the faith-based community that so richly deserves and needs these funds to protect the congregations. We were number two in the country - overall as a state - over $8 million - and District 5 is, I believe, the leader of that, and quite frankly that means across the country, as far as clawing back and getting those dollars into the community, again, that are so vital.”

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