Senate Republicans block domestic terrorism bill that defines ‘anyone they disagree with as terrorists, extremists’

Not a single Republican in the U.S. Senate voted in favor of a measure that would set up offices at the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security to monitor domestic terrorism.

Voting on the proposed Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act came on the heels of the grocery store shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., and took on even more focus in the wake of this week’s massacre at a Texas elementary school when an 18-year-old gunman took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) scheduled a procedural vote on the measure for Thursday but it failed to move ahead with a vote along party lines of 47-47, The Hill reported. The measure needed to secure 60 votes in order to open debate.

“The bill is so important because the mass shooting in Buffalo was an act of domestic terrorism. We need to call it what it is, domestic terrorism. It was terrorism that fed off the poison of conspiracy theories like white replacement theory,” Schumer said in a speech ahead of the vote on the Senate floor.

But Republicans found the measure, which passed the House last week, unnecessary and politically motivated, and they expressed concerns that it would be a slippery slope as far as future misuse of the bill for political purposes.

“The problem we have is that we have a bunch of people who define anyone they disagree with as terrorists, as extremists,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said, according to Politico. “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. … That’s the concern that people have.”

“I just think if you look at the bill, the president’s not asking for it. He says he’s got the authority. Same thing from the Justice Department,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said. “I think it’s a lot of stuff they already have authority to do. I think this is … more of a show vote.”

“It would be the Democrat plan to name our police as white supremacists and neo-Nazis. I met policemen throughout Kentucky and I’ve not met one policeman motivated or consumed with any kind of racial rage,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. “What an insult it is to put a bill before the House and say our Marines are consumed with white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

Even the ACLU weighed in, warning the bill could have unintended consequences for certain communities.

“Although the Act is well-intentioned, it would entrench long-standing problems with domestic terrorism frameworks, and result in the further unjustified and discriminatory surveillance, investigation, and prosecution of people of color and other marginalized communities, including those engaged in First Amendment-protected activities,” the organization said in a letter to the Senate.

Meanwhile, Schumer had sparked anger among Republicans and others after he blocked the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, a bill that he claimed would “see more guns in schools.”

Named after Alex Schachter and Luke Hoyer, victims of the Parkland, Florida, shooting the bill would have the Department of Homeland Security establish a “Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Best Practices” that would be used by “state and local educational and law-enforcement agencies, institutions of higher education, health professionals, and the public. And it would require DHS to ‘collect clearinghouse data analytics, user feedback on the implementation of best practices and recommendations identified by the clearinghouse, and any evaluations conducted on these best practices and recommendations,'” according to Fox News.

Schumer had said the bill could be considered if his GOP colleagues would debate the domestic terrorism bill.

Max Schachter, who lost his son in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, said Schumer’s tweet is “completely false,” and accused the senator of holding the bill named after his son as “hostage” to use as “leverage” on the domestic terrorism bill.

“I thought that after 19 children and two teachers were just murdered in Uvalde, Texas, partisan politics will be put aside and that families might at least have some positive news out of Congress from their elected leaders,” he told Fox News Digital. “I was naive to think that a horrible mass shooting would make people do the right thing. And unfortunately, you know, he didn’t. He blocked it.”


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Frieda Powers


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