The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomed the U.S. Senate’s passage yesterday of the 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which includes a continuation of federal funding to help protect high-risk non-profit institutions from terrorist attacks. The bill contains $25 million for this purpose as a result of the leadership of Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) with whom the Union worked in partnership with a coalition of non-profit groups led by United Jewish Communities.
This $25 million in federal funding would go to the Homeland Security Department’s Office for State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness to distribute to high-risk non-profit organizations. The non-profits will use the federal funds for much-needed physical security enhancements.
Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Union stated: “The Orthodox Jewish community greatly appreciates the Senate’s continuing support for the security of our community’s at-risk institutions among many non-profit entities which require aid for security. We deeply appreciate the leadership and commitment of Senators Specter and Mikulski and the support of the many other Senators for this program. We look forward to securing final passage and implementation of this important program.”
In the next step of the legislative process, the House and Senate will meet in Conference Committee to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The conference report will then be voted on by both Houses of Congress. Once passed by the House and Senate, the Homeland Security Appropriations bill will go to the President for his signature.