WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-Md.) announced key provisions in the final Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus Appropriations package signed into law by President Biden that support Holocaust education and Holocaust survivors, and expand available assistance to enhance security at houses of worship amid a rise in threats against religious communities.
Senator Cardin is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a 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. Senator Van Hollen is a member of the Senate Appropriations and Senate Foreign Relations committees.
“The United States still has much to learn from the Holocaust survivors who came to this country seeking refuge from unimaginable horrors. They have enriched our nation,” said Senator Cardin. “We have an obligation to provide Holocaust survivors the community support and special services they need to live out their final days. We must do all we can to ensure their stories are not forgotten. The rise in antisemitic incidents and violence worldwide cannot become normalized.”
“Supporting Holocaust survivors remains as important today as it was in the immediate aftermath of the atrocities that were committed during World War II against the Jewish people. The rise in hate and antisemitism we’ve witnessed over the last few years only underscores this necessity. That’s why we fought to include measures in this year’s funding package to strengthen support for Holocaust survivors as well as Holocaust education. Americans must continue to learn from the horrors experienced by Holocaust survivors to ensure ‘never again,’” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations Committee.
“Houses of worship should be sanctuaries, not targets of hate,” Senator Cardin added. “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 to increase funding by $70 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to raise funding to a total of $250 million.”
“Religious liberty is a fundamental freedom protected by our Constitution, but the rise of hateful attacks against houses of worship and their congregants jeopardizes that freedom. The recent increase in religiously-motivated and antisemitic threats and attacks have shown the importance of not only calling out this hate, but also providing institutions with enhanced resources for security investments to better protect houses of worship in Maryland and around the country. I’m proud we’ve secured these investments to protect the ability of religious communities to come together and worship freely, safely, and with peace of mind,” Senator Van Hollen said in addition.
HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: Interior Appropriations provides $62.616 million for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), an increase of $1.228 million above the FY21 enacted level. Senator Cardin led a letter, signed by Senator Van Hollen and others, advocating to fund the Never Again Education Act (P.L. 116-141). The FY22 Omnibus fully funds this important legislation and provides $2 million in funding to enhance USHMM’s education programming on the Holocaust and genocide prevention.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: Senator Cardin, joined by Senator Van Hollen and a bipartisan group of 24 colleagues, fought successfully to secure a $1 million increase for the Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Holocaust Survivor Assistance Fund to $6 million in total funding. There are between 30,000 to 60,000 survivors of the Holocaust living in the United States and approximately one-third living 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.
SAFE AND SECURE HOUSES OF WORSHIP: 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. $125 million will be available for nonprofit organizations in urban areas and $125 million will be available for nonprofit organizations across all 50 states – an increase of $70 million over FY21.
To further monitor and respond to the growing rise in anti-Semitism abroad, the FY22 omnibus appropriations maintains $1 million specifically for use by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.