Jewish Federations Respond to FY 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill

Jewish Federations of North America applaud Congressional leaders for including many of the key legislative priorities for which Federations have strongly advocated in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus spending bill that was released early this morning, in particular the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, ABLE Age Adjustment Act, and major health and mental health programs. At the same time, we are disappointed that other critical priorities such as extension of the Child Tax Credit and Afghan Adjustment Act were not included. Jewish Federations will continue to work with our government partners to advance these important policies and ensure critical funding that will help Jewish communities stay safe, secure, and healthy, and allow them to continue flourishing. 


Three key legislative priorities that Federations strongly advocated for increased funding are the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program and the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act. 

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program 
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) provides funds for houses of worship and other nonprofits to improve their physical security and readiness for potential attacks. These funds are critical to protecting Jewish and other faith institutions, especially during increased levels of antisemitism, as President Biden noted in his address at the recent White House Chanukah party.

Jewish Federations were instrumental in creating the NSGP in 2004 and continue to prioritize communal security, most notably through lobbying efforts and the $130 million LiveSecure philanthropic campaign aimed at protecting every single Jewish community in the US and Canada. Jewish Federations have been at the forefront of advocating for increased funding of the program at the $360 million level in order to address heightened needs in light of spiking antisemitism and violent extremism. Last year, the NSGP was able to fund fewer than half of all applicants. In July, Federations led a multi-faith coalition letter advocating for advancing legislation to make the program more efficient and accessible to faith-based organizations. After the Colleyville hostage crisis, Jewish Federations’ President & CEO Eric Fingerhut called for increasing funding for the program in Congressional Testimony

The proposed budget for NSGP is $305 million, the highest level in the history of the program, yet still short of the $360 million Federations have advocated for.

SVP of Public Affairs at Jewish Federations of North America Elana Broitman added: 

“Jewish Federations are grateful to the bipartisan Congressional champions who helped advance the significant funding increase for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, up from the $250 million passed in last year’s budget and the highest level to date in the history of the program. Together with improvements to the program in the recently-passed NDAA, this is a historic acknowledgement by government leaders of the critical need for this program. We are disappointed that the program will be funded below the $360 million, the minimum necessary to meet rising security needs for Jewish and other faith communities as antisemitic incidents and violent domestic extremism are on the rise.  Jewish Federations will continue to advocate for continued increases for this program next year, to ensure the safety and security of every Jewish and faith community.”

The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program 
The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program is a public-private partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, Jewish Federations, and community-based health and supportive services providers to better address the unique needs of the country’s aging Holocaust survivor population.

Approximately one third of the Holocaust survivors in the U.S. are estimated to be living in poverty. As a group, Holocaust survivors are subject to increased risk of depression, social isolation, and extremely poor outcomes if they don’t receive the proper care. Through our Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma and with government funding, Jewish Federations have helped tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors, diverse older adults with a history of trauma and family caregivers. 

SVP of Public Affairs at Jewish Federations of North America Elana Broitman added: 

“We are grateful to Congressional Leaders for passing The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program at a level of $8.5 million, an increase over the $6 million level in FY 2022. Ensuring the well-being of our Holocaust survivor community is a top priority for Jewish Federations, and a value that we hold dear. This vital increase will enable Jewish Federations to care for more Holocaust survivors and older adults with a history of trauma, so that they can live their lives with the support and care they deserve.” 

The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act  
Signed into law in 2021, the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act will provide law enforcement with necessary resources to monitor and combat hate crimes. The FY 2023 package includes $10 million to implement the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act.

SVP of Public Affairs at Jewish Federations of North America Elana Broitman added: 

“Jewish Federations commend Congressional leaders for funding the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act of 2021 at $10 million, double last year’s level. The funding increase has been a major priority of Jewish Federations’ advocacy and a focus of our Washington Conference this past March, and is vital as antisemitic and other hate crimes are on the rise. These critical funds will provide law enforcement with the tools to record and analyze hate crimes, for victims of hate crimes to feel safe, and for community-based organizations to build relationships with law enforcement to combat hate effectively together. Jewish Federations worked with a broad coalition of Jewish and interfaith partners to advocate for the swift passage of this historic legislation in 2021 and we are proud to continue to work for effective implementation of this law, to help keep all communities free from hate.” 

Additional legislative issues that Jewish Federations advocated for include:

Health and Mental Health Care and Support for People with Disabilities 
Jewish Federations applaud key health, mental health, and long-term care provisions and investments included in the FY 2023 Omnibus. The package includes a two-year extension for telehealth, expansion of the Medicare mental health clinical workforce to include Marriage & Family Therapists and Licensed Mental Health Counselors and new resources for mobile behavioral health crisis response, extension of vital programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person program, while making the state option to provide Medicaid postpartum coverage for pregnant individuals permanent, and much more. These improvements and additional resources will help address the nationwide mental health crisis, including among our youth, and expand access to care and services for children, pregnant women, older adults, and individuals with disabilities, while providing a glide path out of the Public Health Emergency. These funding streams will help sustain our Jewish service agencies and their mission of providing care to the vulnerable in the community. 

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act 
The ABLE Age Adjustment Act was included in FY 2023, the first time this act has been included in the budget since its introduction in 2015.  The ABLE Age Adjustment Act will allow people who become disabled later in life, such as accident victims and veterans, to have access to important tax-free savings plans for costly disability-related expenses, such as therapies and medical equipment.

Improving the financial security of people with disabilities and ensuring they are able to meet their basic needs is of paramount importance to Jewish Federations and we are delighted with the passage of the bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act, a long-standing priority of Jewish Federations and a focus of our annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) for the past several years. As a result of Congress' action, millions of additional people will be able to save for costly disability-related expenses without fear and with greater empowerment about their financial future.

Afghan Adjustment Act
Jewish Federations are disappointed that the Afghan Adjustment Act was not included in the omnibus spending bill.

More than 70,000 Afghans were admitted to the United States as “humanitarian parolees” following the United States' military withdrawal from Afghanistan - a temporary status that does not confer lasting protection or a pathway to permanent residence. The Afghan Adjustment Act would have allowed eligible Afghans to apply for permanent status after one or two years of residence in the United States, and after clearing additional background checks. Currently, displaced Afghans resettled in the United States must apply for asylum or risk potentially facing deportation.

Earlier this year, Jewish Federations partnered with the Shapiro Foundation to help Jewish human service agencies in their efforts to resettle Afghan refugees. Working in partnership with Jewish human service agencies, the initiative enabled nearly 2,000 displaced Afghans to resettle in dozens of communities across 16 U.S. states and Canada. 

Jewish Federations will continue to advocate for expanded refugee rights and resettlement, building on a long history of activism in the refugee space.