The House Approves Bill to Monitor White Supremacy
Despite the vote supporting the amendment, all House Republicans voted to oppose the measure.
As part of the annual defense spending bill (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022), the House approved an amendment requiring government officials to report instances of white supremacy and neo-Nazi activity in uniformed services and federal law enforcement. The amendment was approved in a party-line 218-208 vote.
Chairman of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight, New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., tweeted his disgust.
The measure calls for the FBI director, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the secretary of Defense to publish a report detailing white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity within their ranks. The report must disclose the number of people who were discharged from uniformed services or law enforcement because of situations involving white supremacy and neo-Nazi activity. They’re also required to present ways to combat such ideologies. The report would be submitted to congress, with unclassified portions made public.
Illinois Congressman Brad Schneider sponsored the amendment. Referencing domestic terrorist attacks including the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 that saw hundreds of neo-Nazi, white supremacist, Confederate and KKK groups turn their demonstration deadly, Schneider pointed out that these hate groups must be exposed. “Such behavior, such extremism is a threat to us in all segments of society. There is no reason to believe that our military is any different.”
Schneider also cited a presentation from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, titled “The Insider Threat and Extremist Activity Within the DoD.” He reminded, “These are exceptions, they are rare, but we must do everything we can to identify them and to thwart them before risks become a reality.”
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, as did all other House Republicans, voted against the measure. He argued, “This amendment attempts to create a problem where none exists by requesting investigations into law enforcement and the armed services for alleged rampant white supremacists or white national sympathies.”
In late 2020, The Brennan Center published a report entitled Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism White Supremacy and Far Right Militancy in Law Enforcement. The paper lists no fewer than 121 footnotes documenting instances they call the government’s “strikingly insufficient” response to clear threat.
The full NDAA is expected to pass this week. The House then goes into conference with the Senate.