Washington: The US House of Representatives passed legislation to combat domestic terrorism in the wake of the mass shooting in Buffalo on Saturday by a white supremacist, media reports said.
House lawmakers on Wednesday passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 in a vote of 222-203. The legislation, which has yet to make its way through the Senate, would establish domestic terrorism units within the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and Justice Department.
The bill would also create an interagency task force to analyze and combat white supremacist infiltration of the military and federal law enforcement.
Republicans in debate prior to the vote expressed concerns about the legislation’s ability to target individuals for beliefs that may not be connected to domestic terrorism at all.
The lawmakers expressed concerns about the bill’s focus on white supremacist domestic terrorism, citing recent crimes and attacks involving left-wing and black perpetrators.
The Biden administration on Thursday issued a statement in support of the legislation’s passage and other efforts to counter domestic terrorism in the US. The administration said it looks forward to working with Congress to implement the legislation.
The bill comes following a mass shooting allegedly perpetrated by 18-year old Payton Gendron, who is believed to have also written a manifesto describing white supremacist beliefs as motivation for going on a rampage in a Buffalo supermarket, killing ten people, media reports said.
The FBI qualified the shooting as a racially motivated hate crime and US President Joe Biden referred to the incident as domestic terrorism.