US Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced recently that she has secured funding for numerous initiatives that are critical to the Jewish community. All of the measures are items Meng attached to the omnibus government spending bill that was recently signed into law. They include:
- $705.8 million for US-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation, a $105-million increase from last year
Funding will be used for the US to work with Israel in developing missile defense systems for defending the Jewish state. The funds, which Meng obtained with Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), consist of $92 million for Iron Dome procurement (coproduction); $221.5 million for David’s Sling Weapon System procurement and research and development; $310 million for procurement, research and development, and testing of Arrow 3 Upper Tier missile system; and $82.3 million for Arrow System Improvement Program.
- $50 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), double last year’s $25-million allotment
The NGSP initiative provides nonprofit organizations with funds to improve security and guard against threats and attacks. Eligible organizations include synagogues, yeshivos, Jewish Community Centers, and other Jewish facilities. Funding from NSGP grants can be used for target-hardening and other physical security enhancements such as barriers, gates, safety gear, and surveillance equipment. Last year, Meng announced $375,000 in NGSP funds for several Jewish facilities in Queens.
- At least $1 million for Anti-Semitism Efforts Abroad
Funds will be used to monitor and combat anti-Semitism around the world, a critical initiative as international threats to the Jewish community continue to rise. Meng fought to secure the money after learning that there was no dedicated funding last year.
- $634,000 for the Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, an increase of $66,000 over last year’s funding
The Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues facilitates Holocaust education and develops and implements US policy for returning Holocaust-era property to their rightful owners. The funding is vital as Holocaust denial is on the rise and governments challenge their history and involvement in the Holocaust.
- Appointment of a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Abroad
During an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing last year, Meng asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson why the Administration had not filled the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Abroad. He told Meng that the post was not important. The Congresswoman vehemently disagreed, so she added language to the omnibus bill that urges the Secretary to appoint an envoy as soon as possible. The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism was created by Congress in 2004 with the sole purpose of combating global anti-Semitism.
“Ensuring the safety and security of Israel, combating anti-Semitism, and safeguarding Jewish facilities are critical issues for the Jewish community, and they are issues that are top priorities of mine,” said Meng. “I am proud to deliver on these critical initiatives and look forward to continuing to do so in the next fiscal year. I thank all of my colleagues who supported these efforts, particularly Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) who serves as our committee’s ranking member.”
All of Meng’s measures are for fiscal year 2018, which runs through the end of September.