Defense and National Security Overnight – Senate Republicans Block Domestic Terrorism Bill
Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a bill that would have created national counterterrorism offices within federal law enforcement.
We will give you the summary of the vote. Additionally, we’ll explain why President Biden’s nominee for NATO Commander-in-Chief in Europe is eagerly awaiting Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.
Welcome to Defense and Homeland Security, you are a nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Jordan Williams. A friend sent you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Domestic terrorism bill fails in Senate
Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a bill to create domestic counterterrorism offices within federal law enforcement in response to a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that caused 10 deaths.
The vote on the Preventing Domestic Terrorism Act plummeted along party lines, 47 to 47, without a single Republican voting for the measure.
What was in the bill? The legislation would have created an interagency task force within the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and FBI to analyze and combat white supremacist infiltration of military and federal law enforcement.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) touted the bill as an opportunity to vote on Republican and Democratic amendments to address gun violence, but his call for GOP support to begin the debate fell flat with his fellow Republicans.
“The bill is so important because the mass shooting in Buffalo was an act of domestic terrorism. We must call it by its name, domestic terrorism. It is terrorism that has fed on the poison of conspiracy theories like the white replacement theory,” Schumer said ahead of the vote.
Why the opposition? The Republican senators argued that new federal laws and offices are not needed to monitor and prosecute domestic terrorism because politically motivated violence is already covered under existing laws.
They also expressed concern that the bill could open the door to inappropriate oversight of political groups and create a double standard for extreme groups on the right and left of the political spectrum.
Home side: The failed Senate vote comes about a week after the House passed the legislation largely along partisan lines, 222 to 203. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) was the only Republican to vote in favour.
Learn more here.
Candidate for NATO commander backs Finland and Sweden’s NATO bid
President Biden’s nominee for NATO commander-in-chief says he looks forward to Finland and Sweden’s rise in the alliance, saying the countries are strengthening their defenses against Russia.
Gen. Christopher Cavoli, currently commander of US Army Europe-Africa, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that the Nordic countries would immediately benefit from the alliance.
Who is Cavoli? Cavoli was appointed in May to the post of Supreme Allied Commander Europe. If confirmed, he would also have the dual role of commander of US European Command.
Prior to commanding U.S. Army Europe and Africa, he held several positions in the United States, Europe, and Asia, although he had extensive experience studying Russia. He also speaks Italian, Russian and French.
USA supports new members: The Biden administration championed potential new members and invited Swedish and Finnish leaders to the White House last week. However, the alliance would have to vote unanimously to allow countries to join.
More than 80 senators, led by the senses. Jean Shaheen (DN.H.) and Thom Tillis (RN.C.), urged the administration to expedite the approval of their candidacies.
Turkey has emerged as a possible obstacle to his accusations that the countries harbor Kurdish terror groups.
From a military point of view: Cavoli told the Senate panel that the large Finnish army is well equipped, well trained and very quickly expandable. Additionally, the country is “absolutely expert” in defending its 800-mile border with Russia.
He added that Sweden’s military is smaller than Finland’s, but is growing and “very capable”. But the Swedish Navy in the Baltic Sea will be of “enormous military importance” for the alliance.
Cavoli added that Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership would mean that almost the entire Baltic Sea would be the coastline of NATO countries, which would create a “very different geometry of the region”. .
Read the story here.
Blinken outlines US strategy on China
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that the United States would join the global alliance supporting Ukraine’s defensive war against Russia to confront China’s global ambitions, calling it “a busy time for the world”.
“Beijing’s defense of President Putin’s war to erase Ukraine’s sovereignty and secure its sphere of influence in Europe should ring alarm bells for all of us who inhabit the Indo-Pacific region,” Blinken said in a statement. speech at George Washington University.
“This is a busy time for the world…we cannot rely on Beijing to change its course. Thus, we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision of an open and inclusive international system.
The secretary’s speech served as a clear articulation of President Biden’s strategy for confronting China, which the president described as the greatest challenge facing the United States in the 21st century.
Read the five takeaways from The Hill’s speech here.
THE APPOINTMENT FOR TOMORROW
- The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a discussion titled “At a Crossroads: Finnish Perspectives on Transatlantic Security” at 9 a.m.
- The US Naval Academy will host its graduation ceremony for the class of 2022 at 10 a.m.
- The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a discuss on “Australian Army Modernization Priorities” at 2 p.m.
WHAT WE READ
Well… that’s all for today! Check out The Hill’s defense and national security pages for the latest coverage. Until tomorrow!