House

Blue Dogs push for further action on domestic terrorism

Members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative Democrats, are calling for the passage of two bills aimed at combating national security threats in the wake of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The group of moderate Democrats argues that additional action needs to be taken to prevent similar instances in the future and hold those responsible for the attack accountable, opting to officially endorse Rep. Brad Schneider's (D-Ill.) Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act and Rep. Stephanie Murphy's (D-Fla.) Security Clearance Improvement Act.

Murphy's bill would bar those who took part in the riot and those who support QAnon - a sprawling conspiracy theory that centers around the baseless belief that former President Trump and his allies are working with the military to expose a shadowy cabal of elites who control U.S. politics and run child trafficking rings - from obtaining or maintaining a federal security clearance.

Murphy, a co-chairwoman of the coalition, argued that steps need to be taken to prevent conspiracy theories from infiltrating the government.

"As a former national security specialist at the Pentagon, I know how dangerous it is for individuals who participated in a violent attempt to overthrow our government to receive a security clearance and access classified information," she said in a statement. 

"QAnon has spread far beyond the fringes, and we must now take steps to ensure these dangerous conspiracy theories don't infiltrate our government. Holding a security clearance is a privilege, not a right."

Schneider's bill, which he recently reintroduced, would task offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI with investigating and prosecuting instances of domestic terror and would require the agencies to provide Congress with a biannual report on their threat assessments, with a focus on white supremacists.

The Illinois Democrat said he feels that the increase in resources to monitor domestic terrorism has been evident since the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, with the attack on the Capitol shining a light on the gravity of the threats the country faces.

"The threat of domestic terrorism has never before been as stark as it is now, in the wake of the January 6th attack on the Capitol," he said in a statement. "Since 2017, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act has been ahead of the curve in recognizing the threat of racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism and offering clear steps in how to prevent its spread."

The calls for the House to act on the measures come just over a month after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory, resulting in multiple deaths, including that of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

Lawmakers are continuing to grapple with the aftermath of the attack, with Congress expected to launch investigations into how the Capitol was breached.

Trump was impeached by the House on a single article accusing him of inciting the riot with a speech to the mob that morning.

The Senate voted to acquit the former president 57-43 on Saturday, falling short of the 67 votes needed to convict Trump.

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