WASHINGTON, DC –
Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD), today announced that the fiscal year 2009 Homeland Security spending bill includes $15 million in federal funding to help protect high-risk non-profit institutions from terrorist attacks. The legislation passed the Senate as part of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act. The bill now heads to the President to be signed into law.
“Congress has a critical responsibility to protect American citizens from harm. I am proud that we are able to continue to invest in the security necessary to help protect churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, 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
“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. “Many of our nation’s non-profit organizations are on the frontlines working hard to develop and nurture communities. I have fought for these funds in the past, 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.”
The federal funding goes to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Grants and Training 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. For the fifth year in a row, Bush’s budget proposal provided zero funding for high-risk non-profits, which are often soft targets of terrorism.
As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Mikulski worked to create this grant program, which has provided $80 million to non-profit organizations across the country since its creation. Senator Cardin is a member of the Senate Budget Committee, which each year sets priorities for funding to federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.