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Congressman Jamie Raskin

Representing the 8th District of Maryland

Rep. Raskin Calls on House and Senate Leadership to Take Immediate Action to Address Rising Threat of White Supremacist Terrorism

August 7, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)--Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Reps. Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) and Veronica Escobar (TX-16) in sending a letter signed by 45 of their Democratic colleagues calling on House and Senate leadership to take immediate action to address the rising threat posed by white supremacist terrorism.

“In the wake of the El Paso shootings, it is clear that terrorists motivated by a common white supremacist ideology are committing deadly attacks against African-American, Jewish, Muslim, Hispanic and other non-white communities in the United States and around the world, and that they pose a clear and present danger to our national security. There is legislation pending in the House and Senate, much of which should have bipartisan support, that would strengthen our government’s ability to confront domestic terrorism, while making it harder for terrorists to purchase guns. We should not wait until the district work period ends on September 9 to take action that will protect the American people,” lawmakers stated in their letter to leadership.

"White supremacist terrorism is a clear and present danger to our security and should be taken as seriously as threats from foreign-based terrorist groups. It’s time for the Senate to move on the gun bills the House has already passed and both houses should adopt legislation to bolster our government’s response to domestic terrorism. This work must begin now,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski.

“It’s clear that our country is suffering from a hate epidemic – one that has accelerated over the last two years. No community should suffer the terror and pain that El Paso is enduring right now – pain that was brought upon us by someone who hates Hispanics and immigrants. Congress can and must do everything possible to prevent these crimes from happening in the future and provide federal agencies, like the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, the tools necessary to act,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar.

The full text of the letter can be found below and a signed copy is available here.

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell,

We are writing to request that urgent attention be given to legislation to address the threats posed by white supremacist terrorism. First, we call on the Senate to reconvene to consider legislation already passed by the House to strengthen the background check system and enhance gun safety. Second, we believe that the relevant House and Senate Committees of jurisdiction should meet during the August recess, and that all other Members and Senators should be prepared to return to Washington as soon as a substantive, meaningful package to combat white supremacist terrorism is ready for consideration. We the undersigned stand ready to return to the Capitol before September 9 to take up this important work.

In the wake of the El Paso shootings, it is clear that terrorists motivated by a common white supremacist ideology are committing deadly attacks against African-American, Jewish, Muslim, Hispanic and other non-white communities in the United States and around the world, and that they pose a clear and present danger to our national security. There is legislation pending in the House and Senate, much of which should have bipartisan support, that would strengthen our government’s ability to confront domestic terrorism, while making it harder for terrorists to purchase guns. We should not wait until the district work period ends on September 9 to take action that will protect the American people.

Pending legislation includes the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would beef up the Justice and Homeland Security Department units responsible for addressing this threat, while improving collection of data. The No HATE Act, the Disarm Hate Act, and the Domestic Terrorism Data Act also seek to address some of the threats posed by violent extremism in the United States. Congress should further consider appropriating supplemental funds to both Departments so that they can meet the threat without reducing other essential counter-terrorism efforts. And we should consider passing a domestic terrorism statute, and new measures to combat the spread of hateful ideologies online.

We must also come together across party lines, as swiftly as possible, to condemn any political leader, movement, or media figure who echoes the beliefs these terrorists have repeatedly expressed, including that immigrants are “invading” the United States or set on “replacing” any of our citizens. This ideology is utterly contrary to America’s founding creed that all men and women are created equal, and to our experience as a nation built by, and benefiting from, the contributions of immigrants from every part of the world.

We should take the threat posed by white supremacist terrorists as seriously as we rightly take the threat posed by terrorists groups based outside the United States. Let us approach that work with the urgency it demands.

Sincerely,

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