Thompson Cosponsors Bill to Crack Down on Domestic Terrorism
(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) was joined by Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), and Reps. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Lou Correa (D-CA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) to introduce legislation aimed at preventing acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists and other extremist groups. This is a companion bill to legislation first introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
A recent FBI-DHS joint intelligence bulletin found white supremacist organizations were responsible for “49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement.”
“From a church in Charleston to a peaceful counter demonstration in Charlottesville, our national consciousness has been seared by the violence of white supremacy and domestic terrorist groups,” said Schneider. “As this vile and dangerous extremist ideology grows in strength, we need to take steps to protect Americans from the threat. This bill makes smart changes to ensure our federal agencies are effectively coordinating on monitoring these terrorist organizations and able to prevent acts of violence. I thank Sen. Durbin for his leadership in the Senate and my House colleagues for joining me on the bill.”
“In recent years we have seen domestic terrorism and white supremacist extremism on the rise in our country,” said Thompson. “However, the federal government simply does not have the resources or authorities to track these heinous incidents properly or effectively. Countering all forms of violent extremism should be our top priority and we must focus our efforts on stopping all terrorist threats – not just those from foreign terrorist organizations. The legislation we are introducing today will ensure that DHS, DOJ, and FBI have the tools they need to fully track domestic terrorism incidents and are properly coordinating their counterterrorism efforts. I want to thank Congressman Schneider for working with me on this issue and for introducing this much needed legislation.”
“Over the last year, murders by white supremacists more than doubled. It is clear that more action, analysis and resources are need to combat this real and growing terror threat to American lives. Congress cannot sit on the sidelines while terrorists attack American families and communities,” said Kelly. “It’s time we take the fight to end terrorism to the real terrorists that pose a direct and growing threat to our families and our safety.”
“Domestic terrorism is not merely a political issue—it’s a national security issue,” said Gonzalez. “Our federal agencies must have the resources they need to keep Americans safe from the threats we face abroad and on our own soil. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that dedicates federal time, energy, and resources to monitoring these harmful groups and strengthening partnerships with local and state law enforcement to combat hateful violence.”
“After the attack in Charlottesville, I was the first to call for hearings on the dangers posed by white supremacist terrorists,” said Correa. “Our nation’s law enforcement must be empowered to address domestic terrorism with the same vigor we confront international threats. This depends on Congress having enough information to make the decisions necessary to keep all Americans safe. This bill will help us get that information.”
H.R. 4918, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to issue a yearly report on the threat posed by domestic terrorist groups, and focus their efforts on the threats outlined in the joint report.
The bill also codifies the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee (DTEC) interagency task force, improves the training offered by the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Program, and streamlines coordination between the various agencies and offices, including state, local, and regional offices, working to combat domestic terrorism.
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(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Schneider) Steven Kirsch at 202-225-4835