May 27, 2022 07:42 UTC
  • US Republican senators block domestic terrorism bill, despite a spike in hate crimes

US Republican senators have blocked legislation titled the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act in Congress in the wake of the racist mass shooting which killed ten Black people in New York this month.

US senators on Thursday voted 47-47 along party lines to reject the legislation authorizing federal agencies to monitor and report jointly on domestic terrorism within the United States, including incidents related to white supremacy. The bill fell short of the 60 senators required to launch the debate.

The legislation came two days after a gunman shot dead 19 young children and two teachers at an elementary school in the US state of Texas, in the deadliest US school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children and six staff were killed. Seventeen people were also injured in the shooting.

Republicans said the bill was unnecessary as Democratic President Joe Biden already had the authority to organize his administration's response to violent domestic extremism, according to Reuters.

Democrats insisted the legislation was needed to boost the Biden administration's response to rising incidents of violent extremism in the US.

The House passed the bill on Wednesday night to address the growing threat of white supremacists and other domestic extremist groups, just days after a gunman shot dead 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

White supremacists and hate crimes were being investigated as key motivating factors in mass shootings.

The incident prompted Democrats to push for more actions against the threat of domestic terrorism across the US.

The measure would have authorized offices in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI to investigate and monitor domestic terrorism.