Senate GOP blocks domestic terrorism bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., looks over his notes before speaking to reporters at a news conference following a closed-door policy lunch, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., looks over his notes before speaking to reporters at a news conference following a closed-door policy lunch, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 11:29 AM PT – Friday, May 27, 2022

Senate Republicans blocked a domestic terrorism bill while asserting it would dangerously expand the government’s surveillance powers. On Thursday, the measure failed along party lines. At least 10 Republican votes were needed to advance.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced the bill in response to a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo. It would have created new federal offices to increase focus on domestic terrorism threats in coordination with Homeland Security, the DOJ and the FBI.

Republicans have been skeptical of the legislation. They believe the bill could lead to the policing of political speech and claimed it’s an updated version of the Patriot Act to surveil Americans. Democrats have tied the issue to firearms and are pushing for gun control, while echoing calls for the measures approval following the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called the bill an insult to every police officer in the country.

“This is a filtration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement,” Paul said. “This is not just an insult to your local police or to the marines, to the army, to the navy, his is an insult to the FBI, its an insult to the capital police. This bill says that they’ve been infiltrated. This says that our police are consumed with some kind of race rage. It’s untrue, it’s slander, it’s scandalous.”

The bill was not expected to pass after it received GOP support in the House. It only gained one Republican vote from Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed Republicans in his push to get the bill passed.

“Many Republicans have made their opposition clear,” stated Schumer. “There are a lot of MAGA Republicans for whom no amount of gun violence, whether it’s domestic terrorism, a school shooting, a neighborhood shooting or something else, will ever, ever convince them to take any action.”

Schumer voiced he will hold bipartisan negotiations in the Senate in the coming weeks to try and hammer out a compromised bill.

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