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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Bipartisan bill introduced to create commission to investigate Jan. 6 attack, domestic terrorism

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A bipartisan group of legislators is introducing a bill to investigate the Jan. 6 domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol and the federal government’s failure to respond to the threat of domestic terrorism over the past two decades.

The Commission on Domestic Terrorism Act of 2021 would create an independent, bipartisan commission modeled after the 9/11 Commission to investigate these matters. By broadening the investigation beyond the Jan. 6 attack, the commission will be able to do a more robust investigation and provide better-informed recommendations. This will help ensure that the government is equipped to counter and prevent acts of domestic terrorism.

“The planning and fomenting of the mob that nearly destroyed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th was no secret or surprise. People openly seeking to overthrow our democracy were broadcasting their threats publicly for weeks in advance. Yet, our defenses on that day were practically nonexistent in the face of such a grave threat. The result of that planning failure was the deaths of seven people, including Officer Brian Sicknick, and injuries to at least another 140 police officers who fought valiantly to secure and safeguard our country’s tabernacle of democracy despite not being properly staffed or supported in the face of thousands of armed insurrectionists,” U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), one of the billʻs sponsors, said. “It’s clear that this incident did not occur in a vacuum. The federal government has been woefully negligent in addressing the rise of white supremacy and violent extremism for decades. Congress must work now to identify and fortify the weaknesses in our response on January 6th and going forward for the safety and security of our country.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY).

“Acts of domestic terrorism, such as the assault of the Capitol or attacks against our communities by Antifa and other violent, anti-American extremists, hurt our nation,” Reed said. “The Commission on Domestic Terrorism Act of 2021 provides us with a structure to fully investigate these incidents and produce the information needed to better protect the American people. This legislation will also help reveal what causes individuals to turn to extremism and what can be done to prevent radicalization. If we truly care about the safety of our communities and the integrity of our democracy, we must act to stop extremism and prevent such attacks from occurring again.”

Speier is the chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“We were unprepared, and as a result, police officers lost their lives, and too many others were seriously injured. Around the country, we have seen a dramatic increase in extremism, acts of hate-fueled violence, and domestic terrorism,” Sherril said. “Congress must act swiftly to determine exactly how we got to January 6 and how we move forward as a country. This independent, bipartisan commission will investigate the root causes of domestic extremism, how deeply it has penetrated our institutions, and how we can hold those who commit acts of violence accountable while also healing our country.”