Fitzpatrick, Bacon, Upton propose bipartisan Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act

U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Fred Upton (R-MI) on Jan. 19 introduced a bipartisan bill to authorize dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that would analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity.

“Homegrown, violent domestic terrorism from white supremacists, and other racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists, remains a serious ongoing threat that demands the full coordination and efforts of our federal law enforcement agencies,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “We must provide the necessary tools for our law enforcement to investigate, prevent and prosecute these heinous, violent crimes.”

The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021, H.R. 350, which Reps. Fitzpatrick, Bacon, and Upton cosponsored with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) and three other original cosponsors, also would require the federal government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism.

For instance, “this bill would also direct resources for investigations into hate crimes incidents with a nexus to domestic terrorism,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.

Rep. Bacon pointed out that as U.S. operations overseas have helped drive decreases in international terrorism over the last five years, domestic terrorism in the United States has grown over the same time period. “We must acknowledge that America is not immune to this growing threat, and we must counter it with the same resolve with which we have battled international terrorism and Islamic extremism,” he said.

If enacted, H.R. 350 would strengthen the federal government’s efforts to prevent, report on, respond to, and investigate acts of domestic terrorism by authorizing the offices dedicated to combating these threats and requiring them to regularly assess such threats, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office.

“The attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month was the latest example of domestic terrorism, but the threat of domestic terrorism remains very real. We cannot turn a blind eye to it,” said Rep. Upton. “The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act will equip our law enforcement leaders with the tools needed to help keep our homes, families and communities across the country safe.”

The bill also would codify the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which would coordinate with U.S. Attorneys and other public safety officials to promote information sharing and ensure an effective, responsive and organized joint effort to combat domestic terrorism, according to the summary.

The DOJ, FBI, and DHS also would be required to provide training and resources to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in understanding, detecting, deterring, and investigating acts of domestic terrorism and white supremacy, among other provisions.