In the Wake of Orlando, House Passes Bundle of Bills to Counter Extremism and Combat Radicalization
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of the Orlando massacre, America’s deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11, the House moved quickly and aggressively on legislation that will better protect our communities and the homeland. H.R. 5471, Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act, introduced by House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), responds to the heightened threat environment. This legislation includes measures to enhance security and prevent radical Islamist extremism from luring more people down the path of radicalization and terrorism here at home.
The legislation is comprised of three previously House-passed national security bills. Each was sent to Senate with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, or unanimously. The legislation is based primarily on the work of the House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan Task Force on Combating Terrorist & Foreign Fighter Travel. By bundling the bills, the House hopes to move the bills through the legislative process more swiftly and to the President’s desk without delay.
Chairman McCaul & Leader McCarthy: “Our city streets have become the front lines in the war against radical Islamist terror. To honor the memory of the victims in Orlando, we must rededicate ourselves to preventing terrorists from gaining a foothold in our communities. I commend my colleagues for proactively addressing homegrown radicalization—especially Representatives Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), and John Katko (R-NY)—whose legislation helps our neighborhoods stop violent radicalization and combat propaganda of terrorist groups like ISIS. Make no mistake, after this latest attack in our homeland, our resolve is strengthened and we are more determined than ever to take the fight to the enemy, no matter where they emerge.”
The Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act includes three House-passed bills rolled into one:
- H.R. 4401 – Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terror (ALERT) Act (Rep. Loudermilk): The ALERT Act “scales-up” U.S. government efforts to counter radicalization and terrorist recruitment nationwide by allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to better use existing fusion centers to reach out to communities. There are nearly 80 fusion centers nationwide that bring together law enforcement agencies, intelligence representatives, first responders, and other state and local organizations, and these nodes can be an important point of outreach to help communities with spotting signs of radicalization and disrupting potential attacks.
- H.R. 4820 – Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act (Rep. Fleischmann): The bill requires DHS to do more to counter-message terrorist organization like ISIS that are using social media propaganda to recruit and radicalize potential operatives within our own communities. It requires DHS to use the testimonials of former extremists to fight back against terrorist recruitment. The narratives of former extremists and defectors can help prevent other individuals from being lured down the path to violence and terrorism.
- H.R. 4407 – Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act (Rep. Katko): The bill firmly establishes the Counterterrorism Advisory Board (CTAB) into law and ensures DHS is effectively integrating intelligence, operations, and policy to fight terrorism. The CTAB is the central counterterrorism decision making body at DHS and sets the procedures for issuing terrorism alerts. The legislation ensures that the CTAB keeps pace with today’s evolving threats, outlines its core duties, requires the Secretary to appoint a DHS-wide Coordinator for Counterterrorism to oversee the board, and puts the CTAB on a strong footing for the future.