September 06, 2017

Republicans Reject Amendment to Direct DHS to Combat White Supremacy

“Republicans cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand as to the nature of the threats that face our nation”

Today, the House Rules Committee rejected an amendment offered by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman that would direct the Department of Homeland Security to include white supremacy and far-right extremism in its Countering Violent Extremism programming.

Created to address the root causes of violent extremism, CVE programming provides resources to communities to build and sustain local prevention efforts and promote the use of counter-narratives to confront violent extremist messaging online.  Since January, the Trump Administration has significantly drawn back hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for countering right-wing extremism and has instead prioritized the role of law enforcement in combating Islamic extremism.

“This Administration and Republican-controlled Congress cannot continue to downplay the threat of white nationalism. As Vice Ranking Member for the House Committee on Homeland Security, I’m working hard with my Democratic colleagues to ensure that this nation is protected from all threats – foreign and domestic. This amendment is common sense and Republicans cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand as to the nature of the threats that face our nation,” said. Rep. Watson Coleman. “This President has shown his hand and tacit affinity to white supremacy, and with their refusal to censure him, coupled with their refusal to let this amendment come up for a vote, Republicans are seemingly condoning this President’s troubling and divisive stances.”

Last month, Rep. Watson Coleman alongside, Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Pramila Jayapal introduced a censure resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives against President Donald Trump for his comments blaming “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and excusing the behavior of participants in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally. The resolution has nearly 130 cosponsors, all Democrats.

Rep. Watson Coleman also proposed an amendment that would have restored $43 million in funding for TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams. These teams are deployed to provide security at various transportation facilities, include rail and bus stations. This proposed cut, to one of the few federal programs that supports rail security, comes just one month after Al Qaeda’s magazine urged attacks on rail transportation.