December 19, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI APPLAUD INITIATIVE TO PROTECT HIGH-RISK NON-PROFITS FROM TERRORIST ATTACKS

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the fiscal year 2008 omnibus spending package approved by Congress includes a $15 million increase in federal funding to help protect high-risk non-profit institutions from terrorist attacks. Senator Mikulski is a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee.

"This funding is an important victory for the hospitals, schools, community centers, synagogues and churches that need protection from terrorist violence. This is a federal investment in added security to help protect organizations at risk," said Senator Mikulski, the original author of this provision. "I promised to continue my fight for these funds and I will keep fighting to protect institutions that are vital to our communities and the physical, social, spiritual and educational well-being of all Americans."

"Congress has a critical responsibility to protect American citizens from harm. I am proud that we are able to provide needed funds to help protect churches, synagogues, and other non-profit organizations who add such positive value to our communities and each of our daily lives, often at a high risk to the organization and its members," said Senator Cardin.

The federal funding goes to the Department of Homeland Security's Office for State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness to distribute to high-risk non-profit organizations. The non-profits have used past federal funds for much-needed security enhancements, such as concrete barriers.

Senator Mikulski worked to secure funding for high-risk non-profits in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 spending bills. Last year, Senator Mikulski and colleague Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) were unable to add additional funding to the 2007 spending bill. However, they successfully fought for language in the bill to release the $25 million in funding that was signed into law by the President in the 2006 bill, but had been held up by the Bush administration.

"President Bush talks about protecting Americans at home, but his budget priorities fail to acknowledge the risk that many of our nation's non-profits face," said Senator Mikulski. "These organizations are on the frontlines, working hard to develop and nuture communities, but the President has done nothing to protect them."

The bill now heads to the President for his signature.