US Senate Republicans block bill requiring agencies to monitor domestic terrorism
WASHINGTON — Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Thursday blocked a bill that would require federal agencies to monitor incidents of domestic terrorism, including those potentially related to white supremacy.
The failure of the Senate procedural vote showed again how difficult it is for Congress to agree on a response to US gun violence. This followed a racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month that claimed the lives of 10 black people in a predominantly black neighborhood.
Another mass shooting, this one at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, killed 19 children and two adults.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had scheduled domestic terrorism legislation, already passed by the Democratic-controlled House, for a vote after the Buffalo shooting.
“The bill is so important because the mass shooting in Buffalo was an act of domestic terrorism. We have to call it by its name: domestic terrorism,” said Schumer, a Democrat from New York.
“It’s terrorism that has fed on the poison of conspiracy theories like the white replacement theory,” Schumer said. “Terrorism that left 10 dead and a community forever torn apart.”
But the senators are far from having reached the threshold of 60 votes necessary to advance the debate on the bill. Schumer through a procedural approach could bring the bill, HR 350, again if there is more support.
The vote was 47-47, six senators who did not vote. Only Democrats supported moving the bill forward. The House on May 18 had passed the bill, 222-203, with only one Republican vote.
Meanwhile, Schumer said Democratic senses Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Chris Coons of Delaware, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and others are reaching out to Republican senators to work on some type of legislation. bipartisan gun control.
“Make no mistake, if these negotiations do not bear fruit in a short period of time, the Senate will pass gun safety legislation,” he said. “But our hope, even amid our deep skepticism, is that during this week Democrats and Republicans will finally come together on something meaningful that will actually reduce gun violence in America.”
Schumer on the prosecution on Wednesday had implored Senate Republicans join Democrats in passing the Homeland Terrorism Bill, as well as bipartisan gun control legislation, in response to this month’s mass shootings.
Domestic Terrorism Legislation establishes Counter Terrorism Offices within the The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI monitor domestic terrorist activity and require Congress to take action to prevent domestic terrorism. Including incidents or attempted incidents related to white supremacy.
The bill also “creates an interagency task force to analyze and combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of uniformed services and federal law enforcement,” according to a summary of the bill.
Shortly before the procedural vote, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said the bill would label members of the police and military services as white supremacists.
“To insinuate that the military is consumed by white supremacy is an insult,” Paul told the Senate.
The Pentagon wrote a reportobtained by Roll Call, which revealed that American military personnel and veterans were considered high prices as recruits for white supremacist groups.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said the bill would not create any new laws and that its purpose was to make Congress aware of reports of domestic terrorism.
Durbin told the Senate that it’s important to include the threat of white supremacy in this category because “it’s a category of crime in America that’s metastasizing.”
There have been several shootings in recent years that have targeted communities of color and places of worship. Besides Buffalo, this includes Atlanta, where shootings at several spa shops targeted Asian American women; El Paso, Texas, where dozens of Latinos were gunned down; and Pittsburgh, where the Tree of Life Synagogue was targeted.