National Security

Lawmaker introduces bill doubling penalty for insurrection following Capitol riots

A new bill introduced Friday by a Democratic lawmaker would double the prison time faced by rioters like those who stormed the Capitol, upping the maximum penalty for insurrection from 10 to 20 years.

The bill, named Stopping Domestic Terrorists Act and introduced by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), comes as the White House has directed agencies to undertake a sweeping interagency effort to root out domestic extremism.

“Two weeks ago, the world witnessed a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, incited to overturn our democracy and the will of the American people,” Gottheimer said on a call with reporters.

“With the new Congress in place and with the new administration in the White House, we must redouble our efforts to prioritize the serious threat domestic terrorism is in our nation,” he said.

“We are not a land of lawless thugs and if you attempt to overthrow it, through violence, you will pay the price,” he added.

If enacted, the doubled sentence would accompany increased efforts by the Biden administration to root out domestic extremism. 

President Biden has asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to develop a “comprehensive threat assessment” in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

“The key point here is that we want fact-based analysis on which we can base policies,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a press conference Friday.

“So this is really the first step in the process, and we’ll rely on the appropriate law enforcement and intelligence officials to provide that analysis,” she added. 

Gottheimer and others have asked the White House to up the funding for the Office of Community Partnerships, which was renamed the Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention under the Trump administration, when its staffing and funding was reduced.

Doing so “deprioritiz[ed] critical support for efforts to counter the domestic far right, white supremacy extremists, as well as ISIS inspired lone wolf terrorists,” Gottheimer said.

The White House provided few details of its plans, but early efforts will address information sharing between agencies and how to monitor extremist groups. 

National Security Council (NSC) has been directed to undertake a review about how the government can better share information about potential domestic terror threats, deter radicalization and disrupt extremist networks.

The NSC will also lead a governmentwide effort to crack down on “evolving threats and radicalization,” with an eye on the role that social media plays in fomenting extremism.

Tags Capitol attack Capitol breach Jen Psaki Josh Gottheimer

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