Following the announcement of the awarding of Non-Profit Security Grants for 2012, Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09) received a letter from the Jewish Federation of North America lauding his efforts to ensure that security funding was included in legislation despite cuts to the 2012 Nonprofit Security Grant Program.
"Religious institutions remain some of the biggest targets for violent terrorist actions at the hands of extremist organizations. Unfortunately, numerous agencies have reported that religious institutions within the United States and cities such as New York remain at the top of this list for these religiously motivated attacks," Turner said. "This past year, the United States slashed the budget for non-profit grants. Cuts to this type of funding deserve careful scrutiny, but in light of recent events and given the data from these agencies, the extensive nature of these cuts is unacceptable. It was a no-brainer decision to stand up for this funding to ensure the safety and security of Americans across the country who worship in and work for religious institutions."
The letter explains that despite the massive cuts, a large number of the security measures funded will be dedicated to promoting Jewish communal security thanks in large part to "input from Congressional champions" such as Turner.
The grant program allots 75,000 dollars a year to institutions for security equipment and/or training. This funding allows these institutions and organizations to continue to serve their respective local communities with peace of mind that they are safe and secure. For the past decade, the Department of Homeland Security has distributed security grants through four separate programs (Urban Area Security Initiative, Transit Grant Security Grant Program, Port Security Grant Program, and State Homeland Security Grant Program). This year, the Department of Homeland Security, under the guidance of the Obama Administration, proposed that these programs be combined into a single $1.54 billion National Preparedness Grant Program to be administered by the states. Knowing full well the devastating effects this would have caused religious institutions to enable and ensure its security; Congressman Turner championed the stand against the proposed plan. During the debate over funding, the Congressman personally spoke with Secretary Napolitano about the issue and continues to work with Jewish Community leaders and the Non-Profit Security Grant Program to ensure that religious non-profits around the country are protected from mindless acts of hatred.
"On behalf of The Jewish Federations and a very appreciative community, I want to thank you and your staff for the tremendous work you did for Jewish security through the FY2012 Nonprofit Security Grant Program. You and your staff were nothing less than critical to this year's Nonprofit Security Grant Program. In this time of extreme fiscal austerity, we ask that you continue to strengthen the program in FY2013 given the risk factors as encapsulated above, and to safeguard it against any efforts to diminish its impact through funding cuts or so called grant program reforms," the letter states.
As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and numerous subcommittees pertaining to areas of interest regarding American and global security, Congressman Turner has pledged to continue to work to protect the funding for religious organizations within New York and across the U.S.
Congressman Bob Turner represents New York's 9th Congressional district and serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and House Committee on Homeland Security.