An amendment to enhance security at synagogues and other houses of worship was added to a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act for seven years. The tally was 385-22.
“We have all watched in horror as more and more houses of worship have become targets for white supremacists, white nationalists and antisemites,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), who introduced the amendment. “From Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, these attacks have taken the lives and injured countless individuals from a variety of faith communities.”
The AME Church shooting in 2015 took the lives of nine African-Americans during a Bible study, while 11 Jewish worshippers were killed in the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue, which was the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history.
“Beyond the horrific losses of life, there is also an economic toll, as devastated congregations are left to pick up the pieces and rebuild,” said Beatty. “My amendment will enhance security and improve recovery efforts for places of worship—because the last thing they should worry about is whether they have the insurance backstop to rebuild and continue their important work.”