The Senate rejected a move to begin debate on a House bill concerning domestic terrorism concerns on Thursday.
The bill, aimed at focusing efforts on domestic terrorists such as mass shooters and groups who stormed the US Capitol Building on January 6, passed in the House in a 222-203 vote last week after the mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store that left ten people dead. The House vote went largely along party lines, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) the lone Republican vote.
However, when it arrived in the Senate, the bill was sharply rejected by Republicans, causing House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to change his vote to ‘no’ in a procedural move that allows him to bring the bill up for a vote again in the future.
The bill would require law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to each create offices whose sole purpose is to combat domestic terrorism.
They would be required to create a report every six months that provides an update on “the domestic terrorism threat posed by White supremacists and neo-Nazis, including White supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and the uniformed service.” It would also require them to create a joint task force aimed at addressing white supremacy in the United States armed forces.
Republicans argued the bill would have done little or nothing to stop the recent shootings, and Senator Rand Paul said in an address on the Senate floor, “Today we will have a bill before us ostensibly titled and ostensibly about the subject of domestic terrorism. But this bill would more accurately be called, the Democrat plan to brand and insult our police and soldiers as white supremacists and neo-Nazis. How insulting.”
Top law enforcement officials and the intelligence community have dubbed domestic terrorism, specifically white supremacy, is the number one threat to US security currently.
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