House passes act empowering federal agencies ‘to police thought and speech’

House passes act empowering federal agencies ‘to police thought and speech’

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a sweeping new bill to expand the federal government’s ability to spy on Americans in the alleged effort to combat “domestic terrorism.”

H.R. 350, or the “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act,” was passed in a 222-203 vote almost entirely along party lines, with all House Democrats and just one House Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voting to approve the measure.

The Hill reported the legislative proposal would create “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,” specifically emphasizing terror activity motivated by “white supremacist” or “neo-Nazi” sentiments.

Democrats have largely promoted the bill as a response to the horrific mass shooting perpetrated by an avowed “white supremacist” gunman (who also claimed to be in the “mild-moderate-authoritarian Left category”) at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store last week. 

However, Republicans have blasted the measure for giving the federal government far too much police power.

According to Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, the bill constitutes the “empowerment of the federal bureaucracy to target Americans.”

“This is nothing more than empowering the federal government to police thought and speech in the United States of America, and we should oppose it roundly,” he added.

The bill has also been slammed for narrowing the definition of domestic terrorism to focus on “white supremacist” attacks, at a time when mainstream conservative perspectives on matters ranging from immigration law to Critical Race Theory are often baselessly assigned the “white supremacy” label.

In a May 19 editorial, National Review argued that “the Democrats’ proposal would actually create indefensible exceptions in terrorism law,” going so far as to shield radical Islamic jihadists from the reach of federal law.

“It would narrow the scope of terrorist activity that existing statutes can reach — for the blatantly political purpose of labeling white supremacism, alone, as the nation’s urgent domestic security challenge,” the editors added, noting that investigative resources will be arbitrarily diverted toward alleged “white supremacy” instead of other potential sources of domestic terrorism.

Federal lawmakers aren’t the only ones looking to capitalize on the horrific massacre in New York to expand the reach of government bureaucracy. 

New York’s Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced she will form a special police unit which will, among other things, work to fight the so-called “epidemic” of “hate speech” in response to the mass shooting in Buffalo, which was at least partially inspired by radical rhetoric on the internet.

“We’re proposing a comprehensive plan to combat domestic terrorism, strengthen state gun laws, & investigate social media platforms promoting violent extremism,” Hochul said in a Wednesday tweet.

“In wake of the racist act of terror in Buffalo, New York will lead the charge to confront this epidemic head-on,” she added.