Once the bill the House is taking up — the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 — passes the chamber, it would next go to the Senate for consideration, where its fate is uncertain.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Wednesday that he plans to take procedural steps to force a vote on the bill next week, something that would require 60 votes.
Lawmakers are under pressure to take action in the wake of the tragedy in Buffalo, but the highly polarized partisan climate makes it unlikely that any significant policy changes will pass both chambers of Congress to be signed into law.
Though Democrats control the House and the Senate, their majority in the Senate is not sufficiently large enough for them to enact most legislation on a party line vote and most Republicans remain steadfastly opposed to any kind of gun control bills.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act would set up offices specifically focused on domestic terrorism at the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI.
The offices would track and analyze domestic terrorist activity with the goal of better preparing the federal government to identify risks in order to take preventative action.
The bill creates a requirement for biannual reporting on domestic terrorism threats. It also calls for assessments of the threat posed specifically by White supremacists and neo-Nazis.
It’s not yet clear how much additional Republican support it may be able to get when it comes to a vote on the House floor.
House Democratic leaders had planned to bring an earlier version of the bill to the floor in April, but the effort was derailed after progressive members objected to the measure, which they said could be used to target civil rights activists or left-leaning groups. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he believes those issues have been resolved.
“We’ve worked out some of the concerns people have about civil liberties, which were legitimate concerns, and I think we’ve worked that out and I think we’ll have agreement on that,” Hoyer said during his weekly meeting with reporters.
“The rise of racially motivated violent extremism is a serious threat to Americans across the country,” he said in a statement. “The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act is what Congress can do this week to try to prevent future Buffalo shootings — to prevent future California shootings, future El Paso shootings, future Charleston shootings, future Pittsburgh shootings, future Wisconsin shootings. We need to ensure that federal law enforcement has the…