Nadler Bill to Protect High-Risk Non-Profits Wins Judiciary Committee Approval

Jun 15, 2004

Washington, DC -- Representative Jerrold Nadler's (D-NY) legislation to help high-risk non-profits take security measures to defend themselves from potential terrorist attacks was approved today by the House Judiciary Committee as an amendment to the "Faster and Smarter Funding for First Responders Act."

"The terrorist threat against schools, places of worship, and other 'soft targets' is very real and we have an obligation to protect them," stated Nadler. "This amendment will provide the means to help high-risk non-profits protect themselves from those who espouse hate and violence."

Nadler's amendment would authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide up to $100 million in security assistance in Fiscal Year 2005 to 501(c)(3) organizations that are at risk of being attacked by terrorists. After funds have been directed to high-risk institutions, federal loan guarantees would be available through a new office in the Department of Homeland Security that will work with potentially vulnerable non-profit organizations.

The amendment directs that funding to non-profits will only be used for security enhancements, technical assistance to assess security needs and develop plans, and to train security personnel. The legislation was drafted carefully to protect and uphold the critical church and state provisions of the U.S. Constitution. As such, the amendment directs that the government will not provide direct assistance, whether in the form of cash or vouchers, to any religious institution. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security would be responsible for providing funding to government contractors, who will make security enhancements to high-risk non-profits to protect Americans from terrorism.

"This amendment is simply a matter of providing non-profits the tools they need to protect themselves," said Nadler. "We live in an era where all high-risk organizations must take necessary precautions. This amendment will help them do that."

"I want to thank Chairman Sensenbrenner for his support, as well as Congressman Nethercutt, who introduced the bill with me, the United Jewish Communities (UJC), the American Red Cross, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, the United Way, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, The American Hospital Association, The UJA Federation of New York and the myriad of other groups that worked to pass this vital legislation."