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 2020 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 $1.388 million increase for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum education. Following language requested from Senator Cardin, the appropriations bill requires the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to submit a report on their collection and usage of historical documentation, such as survivor testimony, to support their memory and range of 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’s TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act (S. 2179), which is being considered as part of the Older Americans Act reauthorization, would further ensure that Holocaust survivors have coordinated, trauma-informed care and services particularly tailored their needs.
NEVER AGAIN: “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 for a 50 percent increase in the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (now $90 million) after the Trump administration inexplicably zeroed out funding for this program in the president’s budget.” 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 Nonprofit Security Grant program and Urban Area Security Initiative Grants program.
To further monitor and respond to the growing rise in anti-Semitism, the FY2020 omnibus appropriations includes $500,000 specifically for use by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.