After yesterday's shootings in El Paso, it is beyond question that terrorists motivated by a common white supremacist ideology are committing deadly attacks against Jewish, Muslim, African-American, Hispanic and other non-white communities in the United States and around the world, and pose a clear and present danger to our national security. There is legislation pending in the House and Senate that would strengthen our government's ability to defeat domestic terrorism, while making it harder for terrorists to acquire guns. Congress should be called back into session as soon as possible to act on this urgent threat. We should not wait until the Summer district work period ends on September 9 to take action that will protect the American people.
Pending legislation includes the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, of which I am an original cosponsor, and which would beef up the Justice and Homeland Security Department units responsible for addressing this threat, while improving collection of data. Congress should quickly appropriate supplemental funds to both Departments, including for programs to counter violent extremism in the United States that the administration had previously cut. We should consider passing a domestic counterterrorism statute, and new measures to combat the spread of hateful ideologies online.
We must also, on a bipartisan basis, condemn any political leader or public figure who echoes the beliefs of these terrorists, including that immigrants are "invading" the United States or set on "replacing" any of our citizens. This ideology is utterly contrary to America's founding creed that all men and women are created equal, and to our experience as a nation built by, and benefiting from, the contributions of immigrants from every part of the world.
Finally, it is long past time for Congress to approve sensible legislation to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands, including the bipartisan universal background check bill that Mitch McConnell is holding up in the Senate, a ban on military assault weapons that allow terrorists to commit mass murder before police can intervene, and allowing gun violence restraining orders.
We should take the threat posed by white supremacist terrorists as seriously and as urgently as we rightly take the threat posed by terrorists groups based outside the United States. There is not a moment to be lost.