Senate expected to vote on companion legislation in coming weeks
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 350, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA), a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the Senate, and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) in the House. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act is designed to combat the growing threat of domestic violent extremist groups and individuals (DVEs), including racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists and white supremacist groups.
The bill authorizes domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Justice Department (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and requires biannual reporting on the state of domestic terrorism threats. It also requires the offices to focus their limited resources on the most significant threats, as determined by the joint report. The intent of the legislation is to better equip these agencies and enable them to work together to effectively identify risks and successfully thwart domestic terror threats. The bill does not create new criminal offenses, new lists of designated domestic terrorist individuals or groups, or new investigative powers for law enforcement.
“Last year, the FBI reported that in 2020, our nation experienced the highest level of hate crimes in over a decade. But those hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. And it’s no mystery that influential figures on the right have been fanning the flames of hate,” said Durbin. “I first introduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act in 2017. This legislation is an opportunity for members of Congress to stand united against hate. Now that the House has passed it, I hope the Senate will quickly follow suit. By signing this legislation into law, we can take significant steps to improve the federal response to the scourge of hate and violence that has claimed far too many American lives.”
“Passing the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act sends a message that we stand with federal law enforcement, we stand with American communities, and we stand against domestic terrorism. The American people deserve to feel secure in their schools, in their super markets, in their churches, synagogues, temples and mosques.” said Schneider. “I want to thank the Speaker and House Leadership for their support for this bill, and Senator Durbin for his leadership on this bill in the Senate.”
“Domestic terrorism is a serious and well-documented problem facing our country. H.R. 350, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, is a bipartisan solution to this growing threat,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10). “This bill is the least we can do to signal our opposition to white nationalism and this rising menace of organized intolerance. A special thanks to Rep. Schneider for his tremendous work introducing this bill.”
“Recent events in Buffalo, New York as well as the rising threats of domestic terrorism across the country need to be stopped before they happen,” said Congressman Gonzalez (R-TX-23). “I am proud to be one of the co-leads on this legislation to ensure the safety and security of all Americans from the threat of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-government extremism.”
“Immediately after the deadly Charlottesville rally, I was the first Member of Congress to call for hearings to domestic terrorism. Since then, we have had numerous attacks by white nationalists including Tree of Life and El Paso. And just last week, we had yet another white supremacist attack a supermarket in an African-American neighborhood in Buffalo. Our country has a domestic terrorism problem. Every American lost to any terror attack, whether domestic or international, is a national tragedy. As an original cosponsor of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, I am proud that this important legislation has passed the House of Representatives,” said Congressman J. Luis Correa (D-CA-46).
“We’ve seen a steady increase in the rise of domestic terrorism, and especially white nationalism in this country,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL-02). “During the pandemic, we saw a sharp increase in attacks against Asian American communities. We’ve seen countless synagogue shootings and attacks on Jewish Americans. Our LGBTQ+ communities have been under attack as well. Of course, just this past weekend, we saw a white nationalist travel hours to shoot Black Americans in a grocery store in Buafflo, NY. Enough is enough – we cannot sit back and allow this homegrown terrorism to continue. I am proud to cosponsor The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act help prevent further hate crimes and acts of domestic terrorism that have continually plagued our communities and nation.”
First introduced by Durbin in 2017, Schneider’s companion legislation received broad, bipartisan support, passing the House by a voice vote on September 21, 2020. When Durbin sought to pass the legislation through a unanimous consent request on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) objected to Durbin’s bill on behalf of Senate Republicans. In March 2021, Durbin held his first oversight hearing as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee on domestic terrorism and FBI oversight, and a second hearing on domestic terrorism in January 2022, one year after the January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. In May 2022, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that the Senate will soon hold a vote on the House-passed DTPA. Durbin also announced a third Judiciary Committee hearing on domestic terrorism.