Second most-powerful Senate Republican says bill to fight domestic terrorism after Buffalo is too ‘partisan’ to pass

Second most-powerful Senate Republican says bill to fight domestic terrorism after Buffalo is too ‘partisan’ to pass
Sen. John Thune of South Dakota speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C., Gage Skidmore

Senate Republican Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota immediately poured cold water on a just-passed House bill to help fight rising domestic terrorism, in the wake of his past weekend’s massacre of ten Black people in Buffalo by a self-avowed white nationalist and antisemite and a California church shooting deemed a “politically motivated hate incident” by local law enforcement.

The House bill passed with all Democrats and just one Republican voting for it. 203 Republicans voted against the legislation that would establish new offices across three federal agencies to help identify and combat domestic terrorism. Three of the Republicans who voted against the legislation are original co-sponsors of the bill, and many who voted for a very similar bill two years ago voted against this bill Wednesday. The final tally was 222-203.

CNN’s Manu Raju reports Senator Thune, the second-most-powerful Senate Republican, is “skeptical the domestic terrorism bill that passed the House will get 10 GOP senators,” which it would need to pass, assuming all 50 Democrats vote for it.

He noted that it was a ‘pretty party-line vote.’ Said he had not studied the details of the bill yet but noted the outcome in the House makes him think it is ‘largely a partisan bill.'”

Republicans have a long history of blocking any attempt to curtail or get out in front of preventing domestic terrorism, despite – or because of – the vast majority of extremist-related murders are committed by right-wing extremists.

Republicans’ opposition to addressing right-wing extremism and domestic terrorism goes back at least as far as 2009, when, as Wired reported, “an analyst at the Department of Homeland Security focusing on far-right extremist groups” published this report about the danger of right-wing extremism. Outrage was so dramatic DHS was forced to retract it.
In 2016 Politico reported Congressional Republicans also in 2009 “succeeded in pushing to shut” down a DHS program, an intelligence unit “called the Extremism and Radicalization Branch.” Its mission? “Studying and monitoring sub-sections of the population for potential signs of ideological and political radicalization.”

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