United States Senate Republicans This Thursday they prevented the approval of a bill to deal with domestic terrorism following the racist massacre in mid-May at a grocery store in upstate New York.
(Also read: Massacre in Texas: this was the shooting in Uvalde that left 21 dead)
Democrats were counting on the bill failing, but wanted to use the vote to highlight Republican opposition to tougher gun control and ownership laws in the wake of Tuesday’s latest massacre at a Texas elementary school. .
Authorities have made no racial connection to this latest attack, which killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. But the shock of the scale of the massacre, less than two weeks after the attack in Buffalo, New York, has catapulted the crisis of gun violence in the United States back to the top of the agenda in Washington.
“The bill is very important, because the Buffalo mass shooting was an act of domestic terrorism. We have to call it by its name: Domestic terrorism,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote.
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The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act would have allowed the creation of units within the FBI and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to combat domestic terrorism, primarily the white supremacist movement.
Pentagon officials could also have created a group “to combat white supremacist infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement.”
Schumer had urged Republicans on Wednesday to allow the Senate to begin debate on the bill,
Schumer offered Republicans Wednesday to accommodate Republican provisions to “tighten” school safety after the Texas shooting in exchange for allowing debate on the bill to begin.
(You can read: Shooting in Texas: the 10-year-old heroine who died calling 911)
The bill is very important, because the Buffalo mass shooting was an act of domestic terrorism.
Just before the vote, Schumer said he had cried while looking at photos of Tuesday’s victims, calling the state’s governor, gun advocate Greg Abbott, “an absolute fraud.”
Abbott has worked to ease gun restrictions in Texas, including signing a measure last year that allows residents to carry handguns without licenses or training.
The project did not get the necessary 60 votes, of the 100 seats in the Senate, to avoid filibustering and start the debate.
Republicans say laws already exist against white supremacists and other domestic terrorists, and have accused Democrats of politicizing the Buffalo massacre, which killed 10 African Americans.
They have also argued that the legislation could be abused to persecute opponents of the Democratic administration.
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