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Chairman Nadler Floor Statement for Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following remarks on the House floor, as prepared, during debate of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act:
“Madam Speaker, in 2018, a gunman shot and killed 11 worshippers attending Shabbat services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.  In 2019, another gunman shot and killed 22 shoppers at an El Paso Walmart.  Over the weekend, yet another assailant allegedly shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

“These are tragedies.  I could cite many others.

“And I could spend my time here today talking about the scourge of gun violence, or the dramatic rise in the number of hate crimes, or the obvious consequences of the hate-filled rhetoric that fills our airways and has, sadly, been adopted by some of our colleagues. 

“Instead, I want to use my time to point out what these three cases have in common:  the gunman in each case was a white man, each angry about so-called “replacement theory,” each traveling some distance to target a minority community, each hoping to terrorize that community through mass murder. 

“This is not right.  This is not normal.  This is not consistent with who we are as a country.  We must act—and H.R. 350, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which sits before us today, is the least we can do to signal our opposition to white nationalism and this rising menace of organized intolerance.

“H.R. 350 creates three offices—one each within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI—to monitor, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism.

“These newly created offices would issue joint biannual reports to Congress assessing the state of domestic terrorism threats—with a specific focus on white supremacists—and would be required to focus their resources based on the data collected and the most significant threats.

“Recent white supremacist attacks have reminded minority communities across the country of a dark history we have not yet escaped.  These include the murder of six people of Asian descent at spas in Atlanta last summer, five Jewish Americans being held hostage in their Texas synagogue, numerous bomb threats phoned into historically Black colleges and universities last February, and, of course, the violence in Buffalo just days ago.

“Because every part of the country deserves a responsive, well-trained response to this kind of violence, H.R. 350 also requires DOJ and DHS to provide training and resources to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in understanding, detecting, and deterring acts of domestic terrorism and violent white supremacy.

“And because there should be no confusion that we are targeting criminal activity, as opposed to the legitimate religious or political activity of most citizens, the bill also includes an explicit protection for First Amendment rights and other constitutionally protected activity.

“This legislation is a bipartisan solution to a serious and documented problem facing our country, and I want to thank Representative Brad Schneider for all of his work in introducing it.  The House stood together last Congress to pass this legislation in a bipartisan fashion.  I urge my colleagues to do so once again, and I reserve the balance of my time.”

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