Republican senators have blocked movement on a bill Democrats say would equip law enforcement agencies with more resources to combat domestic terrorism and white supremacy in the military.
The bill failed to secure the 60 votes necessary to open debate, with the final tally coming to 47-47. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) changed his vote to be against the measure so that he could introduce it to the floor again in the future.
GOP SAYS DOMESTIC TERRORISM PREVENTION BILL LATEST PUSH TO EXPAND THE SURVEILLANCE STATE
The GOP rallied against the measure, which passed the House along party lines last week, out of concern that it would cast too wide a net as to what qualifies as "extremism" and argued that federal agencies already have the authority and resources to combat domestic terrorism.
It was brought to the floor in the House last week after a gunman apparently motivated by white supremacist views killed 11 people in a predominately black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. It took on greater urgency in the Senate after 21 people, including 19 children, were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, though this shooting does not appear to have been ideologically motivated.
The Republicans pushed for bills that would shore up school safety measures, which Schumer urged them to add as amendments to the domestic terrorism act. It wasn't enough to entice the GOP to his side.
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“The problem we have is that we have a bunch of people who define anyone they disagree with as terrorists, as extremists,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “We’ve reached a point in America now where the term ‘extremist’ is applied too liberally to people, that there’s deep concern about how these entities will be used."
Much of the Republicans' hesitancy stems from an October letter from the National School Boards Association, which was later revealed to have been coordinated with the Biden White House, that urged the Department of Justice to investigate parents protesting school board meetings as potential domestic extremists.