Washington – Parliament passed legislation late Wednesday night to prevent domestic terrorism by backing federal resources.New York.
The 222-203 nearly party-line vote was a response to Congress’ growing crackdown on gun violence and white supremacist attacks—an escalating crisis after two mass shootings over the weekend. A member of the congressional committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., was the only Republican to vote in favor of the measure.
But the Democrats’ legislative effort is not new. The House passed a similar measure in 2020, only to rot in the Senate. Because lawmakers lack the support in the Senate to move forward with any gun control laws they deem necessary to stop mass shootings, Democrats are instead shifting their efforts to a broader federal focus on domestic terrorism.
“We in Congress cannot stop[Fox News presenter]Tucker Carlson from spreading his hateful, dangerous substitution theory ideology on the airwaves. Congress failed to ban the sale of offensive weapons. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act is what Congress can do this week to prevent future Buffalo attacks,” he said. .
The measure aims to prevent another attack, similar to the one that occurred Saturday in Buffalo when an 18-year-old white man drove for three hours to stage a racist, live-streamed attack in a crowded supermarket in Buffalo, police say. Ten people were killed and the victims were all Black.
Supporters of the bill say it will fill gaps in intelligence sharing between the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI so that authorities can better monitor and respond to the growing threat of white extremist terrorism.
Under current law, three federal agencies are currently working to investigate, prevent and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism. But the bill would require each agency to set up dedicated offices for these missions and create an interagency task force to combat the infiltration of white supremacy into the military.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will cost about $105 million over five years, with most of the money going to be spent on staffing.
“As we took 9/11 seriously, we must take this seriously. This is a domestic form of the same terrorism that killed the innocent people of New York City and now this attack in Buffalo and many other places,” said Senator Dick. D-Ill., Durbin, who supported the same bill in the Senate.
Senate Democrats are promising to raise the bill for a vote next week. However, their prospects are uncertain as Republicans oppose strengthening the Justice Department’s power over local oversight.
Republican lawmakers allege that the department has abused its authority to conduct more local oversight, when Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo in October aimed at combating threats to school officials across the country. They tagged the note as targeting concerned parents.
GOP lawmakers also say the bill does not put enough emphasis on fighting domestic terrorism perpetrated by groups on the far left. Under the bill, agencies would be required to produce a joint report semi-annually that assesses and measures domestic terrorism threats nationally, including threats posed by white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups.
Rep from R-Calif. “This bill glaringly ignores the persistent threat of terrorism from the radical left in this country and instead makes the assumption that everything is white and right,” said Darrell Issa.
The breakup highlights the stubborn gulf between Democrats and Republicans over domestic terrorism in the United States and how it should be defined and prosecuted.
For decades, terrorism has consistently been linked to attacks by foreign actors, but as domestic terrorism, often practiced by white men, has evolved over the past two decades, Democratic lawmakers have sought to clarify this in federal law.
“We’ve seen this before in American history. The only thing missing between these organizations and the past is white robes,” Durbin said. “But the message is still the same hateful, divisive message, pushing people to do extreme things and violent things against innocent people all over America. It’s time for us to take a stand.”