Zero House Republicans on Wednesday supported a measure requiring the Pentagon and federal law enforcement agencies to publish a report on countering white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in their ranks.
Rep. Brad Schneider's (D-Ill.) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023 directing the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense "to publish a report that analyzes and sets out strategies to combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies" passed in a party-line 218-208 vote.
Among present lawmakers, Democrats were unified in support and Republicans in opposition. Reps. Theodore Deutch (D-Fla.), Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) did not vote.
The House is expected to pass the full NDAA this week, after which it will conference with the Senate, where amendments to the annual military spending bill could be struck down.
Schneider's proposal requests "figures on the number of people who were discharged from uniformed services or law enforcement because of situations involving white supremacy and neo-Nazi activity," The Hill reported. It also calls for "information on how the agency leaders responded to 'planned or effectuated incidents' connected to white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideology."
The report—to be published no more than 180 days after enactment of the NDAA and every six months thereafter—would be submitted to congressional committees, and unclassified sections would be made public.
In a House floor speech on Wednesday, Schneider said that the U.S. is experiencing a rise in domestic terrorism, pointing to the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh by a right-wing, anti-Semitic gunman, and the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, where Heather Heyer was killed when a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of progressive counter-protesters.
In a 2020 report titled Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement, the Brennan Center for Justice wrote that "the government's response to known connections of law enforcement officers to violent racist and militant groups has been strikingly insufficient."
Last year, a House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing on "Violent Domestic Extremist Groups and the Recruitment of Veterans" highlighted the dangers of far-right extremism among veterans and active-duty military personnel.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the percentage of all domestic terrorist incidents linked to active-duty military personnel and reservists increased in 2020 to 6.4%, up from 1.5% in 2019 and 0% in 2018.
Schneider cited a May presentation from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, titled "The Insider Threat and Extremist Activity Within the DOD," which detailed cases of domestic terrorism connected to members of the U.S. military.
"Such behavior, such extremism is a threat to us in all segments of society," Schneider said during debate. "There is no reason to believe that our military is any different."
"These are exceptions, they are rare," he added, "but we must do everything we can to identify them and to thwart them before risks become a reality."
Republished from Common Dreams (Kenny Stancil, staff writer) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).