Posted on May 19, 2022

House Passes Domestic Terrorism Bill in Mostly Party-Line Vote

Mychael Schnell, The Hill, May 18, 2022

The House passed a bill mostly along party lines on Wednesday that seeks to create domestic terrorism offices throughout the U.S. government, just days after a gunman fatally shot 10 people in Buffalo, N.Y., in an incident that President Biden called “domestic terrorism.”

The bill, dubbed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, passed in an 222-203 vote, with one Republican bucking party leadership and voting for the legislation.

The legislation specifically calls for the formation of domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI that would be tasked with monitoring and scrutinizing potential terror activity.

A vote on the bill was scheduled after Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), the sponsor of the legislation, called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring the legislation to the floor. He pointed to the Saturday shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, where 13 people were shot, 11 of whom were Black.


Republican leadership recommended that its members vote against the legislation ahead of Wednesday’s roll. In a memo to House GOP offices, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the bill “would create unnecessary and duplicative domestic terrorism offices” in departments throughout the government, among other qualms.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on the House floor said the bill was about “empowerment of the federal bureaucracy to target Americans.”


The bill calls for establishing a Domestic Terrorism Unit in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at DHS, which would be tasked with observing and examining domestic terrorism activity, in addition to a Domestic Terrorism Office in the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division of the DOJ, which would look into and prosecute domestic terrorism incidents and communicate with the Civil Right Division about occurrences that may be considered hate crimes.

The bill also encourages the establishment of a Domestic Terrorism Section of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, which would probe activity tied to domestic terrorism.