Schumer
© AP/Susan Walsh
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
A bill that would create domestic terrorism task forces within federal law enforcement agencies failed to pass in the Senate Thursday following a series of incidents of gun violence including a deadly mass shooting in Buffalo that was believed to be possibly racially motivated.

Democratic Senate majority leader Charles Schumer initiated the vote on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which received a final tally of 47-47. Schumer changed his vote from an "aye" to a "no" at the last minute in a procedural move to enable him to reintroduce the measure in the future. No Republicans voted for the bill.

Schumer said in the chamber:
"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."
Earlier this month, a gunman stormed a supermarket in a Buffalo neighborhood known to have a high minority concentration and started to open fire both in the parking lot and inside the store at customers, killing ten people and wounding three. Prior to the rampage, he published an extensive manifesto online professing his belief in the "replacement" theory that black people would eventually outnumber white people.

After the Buffalo shooting, the Justice Department released a memo that read:
"The Justice Department is investigating this matter as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism. The Justice Department is committed to conducting a thorough and expeditious investigation into this shooting and to seeking justice for these innocent victims."
The bill would have formed special bureaus within the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to thwart white supremacy and neo-Nazism in the military and federal law enforcement agencies.

Republicans who opposed the bill argued that it presented a slippery slope to potentially invasive surveillance of political organizations, which could be treated differently depending on whether they are left or right-leaning.

Schumer claimed that Republican obstruction is preventing Congress from taking meaningful action to combat domestic terrorism. He told CNN:
"I know the chances of getting 10 votes on this bill are small unfortunately given the influence of MAGA Republicans. 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."



Comment: Perspective: The US bombs countries and innocent people - weddings, children, families - without conscience or morality. Schumer is part of that lethal disconnect...but let's blame the Republicans for sticking up for constitutional rights!


GOP Senator Rand Paul said during a floor speech Thursday before the vote that the bill would not go to its intended end:
"Today we will have a bill before us ostensibly titled and ostensibly about the subject of domestic terrorism. But this bill would be more accurately called the Democrat plan to brand and insult our police and soldiers as White supremacists and neo-Nazis — how insulting."
On Tuesday, another mass shooting shocked the country, when an 18-year-old entered an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and started firing a handgun in a fourth-grade classroom, killing 19 children and two teachers. The shooter was subsequently killed in an exchange of gun fire with law enforcement.