WASHINGTON — In response to the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, House Democrats plan to vote on legislation to address the growing threat from white supremacists and other domestic extremist groups.
Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., told reporters Monday night that his panel will hold a hearing and vote to send the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act to the House this week.
“I think [the bill] takes on added urgency given current events,” McGovern said, referring to the fatal shooting in Buffalo, where a gunman shot and killed 13 people, 11 of whom are black, in a supermarket. An 18-year-old white male is in custody.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who controls the schedule, said the leadership team is working on both the domestic terrorism bill and separate legislation to address it. shortage of infant formula.
Ten people were killed in Saturday’s shooting and three others were injured. The suspect allegedly wrote and published a ‘manifesto’ espousing the white supremacist ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory, which baselessly argues that a cabal of Jewish and elite Democrats are plotting to ‘replace’ white Americans with white Americans. people of color through immigration. policies, higher birth rates and other social transformations.
Earlier Monday, Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to introduce her domestic terrorism bill to the House, arguing it could prevent extremist attacks violent.
“The rise of racially motivated violent extremism is a serious threat to Americans across the country,” Schneider said in a statement. “Congress has been unable to ban the sale of assault weapons.”
Democrats face limited legislative options to respond to a massacre that FBI officials said was being investigated as both a ‘hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism’ . The House passed two bills to expand background checks for gun purchases last year, but with strong GOP opposition, the bills fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass. the Senate equally divided.
“The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act is what Congress can do this week to try to prevent future shootings in Buffalo – to prevent future shootings in California, future shootings in El Paso, future shootings in Charleston, future shootings in Pittsburgh, future shootings in Wisconsin,” Schneider said.
During a visit to Buffalo on Tuesday, President Joe Biden will call on Congress to act on “weapons of war” and access to firearms for people with serious mental illness, a state official said Monday evening. White House.
Schneider’s bill, which the House passed by voice vote in 2020, would create Homeland Terrorism Offices within the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and FBI to facilitate better coordination and help agencies identify local risks and threats. It would also require semi-annual reports on the status of domestic terrorism threats.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced a companion bill in the upper house, but it was blocked by Republicans when Democrats tried to pass it unanimously in 2020 The latest House version has 207 co-sponsors, including three Republicans.
Schneider said the warning signs were apparent before the Buffalo shootings and that Congress needed to take action to deal with threats from within.
“Government and law enforcement failed to pick up on these signs, just as Congress failed to adequately address domestic terrorism,” Schneider said. “As a result, ten people, mostly black, died in a Buffalo supermarket. We can’t keep making excuses.
Frank Thorp V and Josh Lederman contributed.