Congressman Gonzalez Joins Introduction of Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA) of 2021
Today, Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Don Bacon (NE-01) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced the introduction of Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA) of 2021, a bipartisan and bicameral bill. A Senate companion bill is led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and House original cosponsors include Reps. Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Lou Correa (CA-46).
"White supremacy and domestic terrorist organizations have no place in America. Rhetoric from the outgoing President and right-wing political leaders have emboldened white nationalist groups to pursue violence as a means to an end," said Congressman Gonzalez. On January 6, we experienced the terror of white nationalism in full display as domestic terrorists attacked our Nation's Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. This bill would provide federal agencies with the resources they need to keep Americans safe from the threat of home-grown terrorism and strengthen partnerships with state and local law enforcement to combat hateful violence. The Domestic Terror Prevention Act is more important than ever as we work to root out and rid America of this cancer."
Last Congress, DTPA overwhelmingly passed the House in a two-thirds voice vote after passing out of the House Judiciary Committee 24-2. In the Senate, Senator Durbin brought the bill on the Senate floor, only to be blocked by Senator Ron Johnson.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 would strengthen the federal government's efforts to prevent, report on, respond to, and investigate acts of domestic terrorism by authorizing offices dedicated to combating this threat; requiring these offices to regularly assess this threat; and providing training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement in addressing it.
DTPA would authorize three offices, one each within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to monitor, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism. The bill also requires these offices to provide Congress with joint biannual reports assessing the state of domestic terrorism threats, with a specific focus on white supremacists. Based on the data collected, DTPA requires these offices to focus their resources on the most significant threats.
DTPA also codifies 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. The legislation requires 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. Finally, DTPA directs DHS, DOJ, FBI, and the Department of Defense to establish an interagency task force to combat white supremacist infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement.
The legislation is nearly identical to the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2020, which was endorsed by a broad coalition, including the Anti-Defamation League, Arab American Institute, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, Human Rights Campaign, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Muslim Advocates, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Sikh Coalition, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, and Unidos US.