Senate Republicans on Thursday prevented legislation to establish domestic terrorism offices at various federal law enforcement agencies after recent mass shootings across the country.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously scheduled a vote on a bill that passed the House to create domestic terrorism offices at the FBI and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. However, this procedural vote failed to garner the 60 votes necessary due to Republican opposition.
“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-Fla., 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.”
Some Democrats noted that an almost identical bill to this one received the support of every Republican in the House about two years ago when it was passed via a voice vote. The more recent legislation passed the House 222-203 in a vote that was largely split down party lines.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., when asked if Republicans would back the bill, said, “I don’t know,” adding, “They were all for it the last time we called it.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., described the GOP as “a party that is falling apart at the seams, if their path forward is to make it easier for white supremacists to get away with crimes in this country.”
He added, “This is a super anodyne, inoffensive, apolitical piece of legislation that just seeks to be more coordinated in taking down violent white supremacists.”
Murphy said, “I mean, if we can’t find consensus on fighting white supremacists, what can we find consensus on?”
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