House Passes Three Bipartisan Homeland Security Bills, Including Legislation to Expand Grant Program to Protect Houses of Worship from Terrorism
(WASHINGTON) – Today, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) announced that the U.S. House of Representatives passed three bipartisan homeland security measures, including critical legislation introduced by Chairman Thompson and Committee Ranking Member John Katko (R-NY), the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act of 2022 (H.R. 6825), to expand and strengthen the homeland security grant program that help secure nonprofits and houses of worship against terrorism. Recently, there has been a surge in threats against nonprofits, including the January 15 attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Texas, the recent spate of bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the attack yesterday on a predominately Taiwanese congregation in a California church.
“The alarming rise in violence against houses of worship and non-profit institutions – including an attack at a Taiwanese congregation in California just this weekend – requires a swift and strong response from Congress. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program provides support to at-risk institutions to bolster security, allowing congregants and the public to access them securely and safely,” said Chairman Thompson. “I am proud of the bipartisan work that Congress has done with DHS in recent years to set up and expand this critical grant program, but with threats rising, we need to do more. I am thankful to Ranking Member Katko for working with me in a bipartisan way on this issue and I look forward to working with the Senate to ensure this bill becomes law.”
“As we’ve recently seen, houses of worship and other nonprofit institutions are increasingly becoming targets of discrimination, extremist behavior, and hate crimes,” said Ranking Member Katko. “FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) is one of the most critical resources available to at-risk institutions, especially our faith-based communities. I am proud to work with Chairman Thompson to enhance our nation’s emergency preparedness posture and protect Americans and our faith communities from terrorism and hate crimes.”
The three bipartisan bills that passed the House were:
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act of 2022 (H.R. 6825) was introduced by Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Ranking Member John Katko (R-NY). This bill increases the authorization for funding to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to help secure nonprofits and houses of worship against terrorism, to $500 million annually through FY2028. This bill also directs FEMA to establish a dedicated office within the agency to administer the program and provide greater outreach, engagement, education, technical assistance, and support to eligible nonprofits. Previously, in 2019, Chairman Thompson authored the Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act (P.L. No: 116-108) to formally authorized the NSGP, increased NSGP funding, and made funds available to nonprofit organizations located both inside and outside urban areas.
The President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition Act (H.R. 6824) was introduced by Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA). This bill authorizes the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to carry out an annual cybersecurity competition for Federal civilian employees and members of the armed forces to help identify cybersecurity talent and bolster the Federal government’s cybersecurity workforce.
The DHS Roles and Responsibilities in Cyber Space Act (H.R. 5658) was introduced by Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE). This bill directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to Congress on the roles and responsibilities of the Department and its components relating to cyber incident response.
Other legislation passed by the House this week:
The Bombing Prevention Act of 2022 (H.R. 6873) was introduced by Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). This bill authorizes the Office for Bombing Prevention within DHS and directs it to create a strategy on how to prevent, detect, and respond to terrorist explosive threats and attacks, as well as identify useful technologies and provide assistance to the public and private sectors to further this mission.
The State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021 (S. 2520) was introduced by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). This bill would permit the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center to assist and collaborate with state and local governments on cyber matters. It would also build on previous efforts by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center to prevent, protect, and respond to future cybersecurity incidents – including ensuring access to cybersecurity hardware and software.
The DHS Acquisition Reform Act (H.R. 6871) was introduced by Congressman Jake LaTurner (R-KS). This bill would designate DHS’s Undersecretary for Management as the as the chief acquisition officer for the Department to advise on acquisition matters and improve the Department’s acquisition activities. It also establishes the Program Accountability and Risk Management office to provide consistent standardization and transparency for acquisitions.
The Cybersecurity Grants for Schools Act of 2022 (H.R. 6868) was introduced by Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY). This bill authorizes CISA to provide grants to carry out its Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program, which is CISA’s program to strengthen K-12 cybersecurity education.
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(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Katko) Lesley Byers at 202-834-5230
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