After the worst domestic terrorist act on the United States since the Confederacy waged a bloody civil war against the U.S. government – the January 6, 2021 MAGA/QAnon seditious insurrection – House Republicans almost uniformly voted against the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would create domestic terrorism offices throughout the U.S. government. And only days after a domestic terrorist attack by a white supremacist gunman in Buffalo, New York.
An earlier version of the bill passed the House on a voice vote in 2020.
At least 139 of these House Republicans no doubt were concerned about their roles as co-conspirators who actively participated in the coup plot, or who provided aid and comfort to the violent MAGA/QAnon insurrectionists by going forward with the coup plot even after the Capitol had been sacked. The 147 Republican lawmakers who still objected to the election results even after the Capitol attack.
According to a 2021 assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, domestic violent extremists “pose an elevated threat to the Homeland.”
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act would:
- Create three offices—one each within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation—to monitor, investigate and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism.
- Codify the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which would coordinate with United States Attorneys and other public safety officials to promote information sharing and ensure an effective, responsive, and organized joint effort to combat domestic terrorism.
- Require DOJ, FBI, and DHS to provide training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in understanding, detecting, deterring, and investigating acts of domestic terrorism and white supremacy.
The Hill reports, House passes domestic terrorism bill in mostly party-line vote:
The House passed a bill mostly along party lines on Wednesday that seeks to create domestic terrorism offices throughout the U.S. government, just days after a gunman fatally shot 10 people in Buffalo, N.Y., in an incident that President Biden called “domestic terrorism.”
The bill, dubbed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, passed in an 222-203 vote, with only one Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), bucking party leadership recommendation and voting for the legislation. Four Republicans did not vote [Reps. Arrington, Foxx, Palazzo, and Rutherford.]
For all her self-righteous protestations about the radicalization of the GQP, Rep. Liz Cheney nevertheless voted against the bill.
The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 16, 2022
The legislation specifically calls for the formation of domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI that would be tasked with monitoring and scrutinizing potential terror activity.
A vote on the bill was scheduled after Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), the sponsor of the legislation, called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring the legislation to the floor. He pointed to the Saturday shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, where 13 people were shot, 11 of whom were Black.
The suspected shooter — identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, N.Y. — reportedly embraced ideas that are connected to the “great replacement theory,” a racist, far-right conspiracy that liberal elites are encouraging immigration to replace white voters.
Some Democrats referenced the fatal shooting during debate on the bill prior to its passage.
“Here we are again, reeling from another horrific domestic terrorist attack. This week, a racially motivated shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., perpetrated by an avowed white supremacist,” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) said on the House floor.
She mentioned previous mass shootings carried out by individuals with ties to white supremacy, including the 2018 attack at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, which is in her district.
“H.R. 350 will give communities like mine a fighting chance the next time an angry racist shares a deranged screed online and decides to drive hours to attack vulnerable and innocent people at our grocery stores or our houses of worship,” Escobar said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) pointed to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol as reason the legislation is needed.
“I know, as I believe every member of this house knows, that extremist violence can reach anyone, anytime, anywhere, whether it be a place of worship, a grocery store or, as we learned last year, this very hall,” the Maryland Democrat said.
Republican leaders had recommended that their members vote against the legislation. In a memo to House GOP offices, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the bill “would create unnecessary and duplicative domestic terrorism offices” in departments throughout the government, among other qualms.
Steve Scalise is the guy who once described himself as Klansman “David Duke without the baggage.” So yeah, definitely a white Christian Nationalist who is not too concerned about right-wing acts of domestic terrorism. Considering that he was shot by a gunman several years ago, you would think that he would be a little more sensitive to this issue. But Scalise was one of the 147 Republicans who provided aid and comfort to the MAGA/QAnon insurrectionists on January 6.
Scalise should read the damn bill. It would create three offices—one each within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation—to monitor, investigate and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism. Each of these agencies has a different function, and he knows this.
Insurrection leader Sen. Ted Cruz’s former chief of staff, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), said on the House floor that the bill was about “empowerment of the federal bureaucracy to target Americans.”
Only those Americans engaged in domestic terrorism, or who are inciting political violence or insurrection against the government. So yeah, Ted Cruz. This should include all 147 Republican lawmakers who still objected to the election results even after the Capitol attack.
Republicans have been trying to disable the government’s ability to monitor and to respond to right-wing domestic terrorist organizations since Barack Obama was president. Daryl Johnson wrote in 2017, I warned of right-wing violence in 2009. Republicans objected. I was right.
Eight years ago, I warned of a singular threat — the resurgence of right-wing extremist activity and associated violence in the United States as a result of the 2008 presidential election, the financial crisis and the stock market crash. My intelligence report, meant only for law enforcement, was leaked by conservative media.
A political backlash ensued because of an objection to the label “right-wing extremism.” The report also rightly pointed out that returning military veterans may be targeted for recruitment by extremists. Republican lawmakers demanded then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano rescind my report. The American Legion formally requested an apology to veterans. Some in Congress called for me to be fired. Amid the turmoil, my warning went unheeded by Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security caved to the political pressure: Work related to violent right-wing extremism was halted. Law enforcement training also stopped. My unit was disbanded. And, one-by-one, my team of analysts left for other employment. By 2010, there were no intelligence analysts at DHS working domestic terrorism threats.
Since 2008, though, the body count from numerous acts of violent right-wing terrorism continued to rise steadily with very little media interest, political discussion or concern from our national leaders. As this threat grew, government resources were scaled back, law enforcement counterterrorism training was defunded and policies to counter violent extremism narrowed to focus solely on Muslim extremism. Heated political campaigning by Donald Trump in 2016 pandered to these extremists. Now, right-wing terrorism has become the national security threat which many government leaders have yet to acknowledge.
The mere existence of so many heavily armed citizens filled with hate and anger toward various elements of American society is troubling enough in its own right. They number in the hundreds of thousands. More troubling is the violent convergence now underway within right-wing extremist movements — sanitized with the label “alt-right.” Largely under the media radar, disaffected extremist groups with long histories of squabbling have been independently pooling resources, some even infiltrating our government through the outreach efforts of right-wing extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Constitutional Sheriff’s and Peace Officers Association. Over the past year, we’ve witnessed political violence erupt between right-wing extremist protesters and counterprotesters at pro-Trump rallies in Minnesota, Washington, California and now Virginia. This rebranded alt-right extremist movement has the ultimate goal to disrupt civil society, undermine government institutions and pick which laws — if any — they will abide by, and what supposed “justice” they will administer on their own authority.
[A]merica finds itself overwhelmed with domestic terrorist attacks, increased terrorist plotting and the emergence of new polarizing political issues. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has not only failed to implement an effective strategy to combat right-wing terrorism; it is afraid to even raise the subject in public for fear of political backlash or contradicting its narrow-minded terrorism narrative (e.g., terrorism only comes from Muslims).
Remember all that crazy right-wing media bullshit over domestic terrorists rightly being called domestic terrorists? This left federal law enforcement and security agencies woefully unprepared to respond to the domestic terrorists organizaions who showed up to overthrow the government in a violent insurrection on January 6, 2021.
The right-wing media is still defending these domestic terrorists, calling the MAGA/QAnon violent insurrectionists on January 6 “peaceful protestors” and “patriots” and “political prisoners.” Who would have ever thought that the domestic terrorists have their own propaganda media arm?
The Hill continues:
The legislation was initially slated to be passed through a fast-track process late last month, but Democratic leaders pulled it from the calendar after some progressive lawmakers voiced opposition to the bill.
Schneider told reporters on Monday that the legislation was adjusted to specify that none of its tenets would undermine First Amendment rights. It previously passed in a voice vote in 2020.
The bill calls for establishing a Domestic Terrorism Unit in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the DHS, which would be tasked with observing and examining domestic terrorism activity, in addition to a Domestic Terrorism Office in the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division of the DOJ, which would look into and prosecute domestic terrorism incidents and communicate with the Civil Right Division about occurrences that may be considered hate crimes.
The bill also encourages the establishment of a Domestic Terrorism Section of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, which would probe activity tied to domestic terrorism.