WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly lauded key provisions in the final FY 2021 omnibus appropriations package that support Holocaust education, Holocaust survivors, and the security of houses of worship.
“Holocaust survivors came to the United States seeking refuge from unimaginable horrors. They have enriched our nation. With an average age of 85, we have an obligation to provide Holocaust survivors the community support and special services they need to live out their final days,” said Senator Cardin. “We also must do all we can to ensure their stories are not forgotten. The current lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among Americans is terrifying, particularly as we see a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and violence worldwide. We cannot allow hate to become normalized.”
HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: Interior Appropriations provides a $1 million increase for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Senator Cardin led his colleagues in advocating to fund the recently enacted Never Again Education Act (P.L. 116-141), the FY 2021 omnibus fully funds this important legislation and provides $2 million in funding to enhance USHMM’s education programming on the Holocaust and genocide prevention. A member of the USHMM’s Memorial Council, Senator Cardin spearheaded a requirement that USHMM submit a report on their collection and usage of historical documentation, such as Holocaust survivor testimony, to support the USHMM’s memory and educational programs related to the Holocaust.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ASSISTANCE: Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations maintains $5 million for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Fund. , which Senator Cardin helped create. There are about 80,000 survivors of the Holocaust living in the United States and approximately 25% live at or below the poverty line. They continue to live with the unique mental and physical scars of the unconscionable trauma caused by the Holocaust. Senator Cardin has also championed the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act (S. 2179). This critical legislation would further ensure that Holocaust survivors have coordinated, trauma-informed care and services particularly tailored their needs.
SAFE AND SECURE HOUSES OF WORSHIP: “Houses of worship should be sanctuaries, not targets of hate,” said Senator Cardin. “Congress has an obligation to assist local communities in keeping the public safe from harm. While I regret such a program is necessary, I was pleased at the bipartisan support we received, doubling the program, for the second fiscal year in a row, for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to raise funding to a total of $180 million.” Nonprofits, synagogues, churches and other houses of worship are eligible for federal support for physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program. $90 million will be available for nonprofit organizations in urban areas and $90 million will be available for nonprofit organizations across all 50 states.
To further monitor and respond to the growing rise in anti-Semitism abroad, the FY 2021 omnibus appropriations includes $1 million specifically for use by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, an increase of $500,000 from FY 2020 funding levels.