Lummis Not A Fan Of Domestic Terrorism Act

Lummis said Americans should be wary of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act because it adds to the size of the government to more closely monitor the activities of American citizens.

Leo Wolfson

May 25, 20224 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A measure aimed at increasing investigations and monitoring of domestic terrorism should be viewed with skepticism, according to U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis.

Lummis said Americans should be wary of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, approved by the House last week, because it adds to the size of the government to more closely monitor the activities of American citizens.

“Americans should be concerned about any attempt to expand an agency, especially when that expansion includes ‘analyzing and monitoring’ the activities of American citizens,” she said. “We all share the goal of keeping our communities safe, but the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act fails to accomplish this goal and instead creates more bureaucracy based on the premise of distrust in the American public.”

The office of U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said he would not comment on the bill until after he votes on it.

The measure would create special offices within the government to investigate and monitor domestic terror threats.

Recent incidents of domestic terror such as shootings at a store in Buffalo, New York, and this week’s school shooting in Texas are being cited by supporters of the bill as reasons for its approval. Opponents have criticized it as opportunistic maneuvering to increase the size of government.

The act was approved by the House on a 222-203 vote last week that largely followed party lines. It now heads to the Senate.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney voted against the measure in the House.

According to a Morning Consult/Politico survey, 76% of those questioned support monitoring of domestic terrorism and 74% support members of different governmental agencies working together to combat domestic and white supremacy-related terrorism.

A theory espoused by white supremacy groups is being considered a key motivating factor in the Buffalo supermarket attack. 

However, no reason has been determined for the Texas shooting and very little warning was given by the killer.

Many Democrats have lobbied for gun control in response to such events in the past and President Joe Biden called for tougher gun control laws following the Texas shooting.

Such efforts have almost always been stymied in the past, but the domestic terrorism bill takes a new approach to preventing mass shootings through closer monitoring and more investigations into domestic terror threats.

“Congress hasn’t been able to ban the sale of assault weapons,” Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Illinois, said while arguing for the bill last week. “The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act is what Congress can do this week to try to prevent future Buffalo shootings.”

While a simple majority of 51 votes is required to pass a bill in the Senate, a supermajority, or 60 votes, is needed to start or end debate on legislation before it can ever proceed to a vote.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, told The Hill last week he does not expect the bill to get 10 Republican votes of support in the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, has said “common sense, strong gun safety amendments” could be added to the Domestic Terrorism Prevent Act if Republicans would allow the bill to be discussed.

Schumer was referencing Republican gun violence-related amendments such as Sen. Ron Johnson’s, R-Wisconsin, legislation to create a clearinghouse of information on the best practices for school safety.  

Some congressional Republicans have compared the domestic terror bill to the recent establishment of a “disinformation board” by the Biden administration.

The board was established to determine a set of “best practices” to surveil for threats of violence from foreign states and adversaries while simultaneously safeguarding free speech, civil rights, liberties and privacy. 

The board had no authority, never met and was paused after its Executive Director Nina Jankowicz resigned in the face of public opposition. Its status is currently under review by the DHS’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter