GOP lawmakers in the Senate on Thursday blocked a bill intended to combat domestic terrorism, preventing the legislation from advancing, CNN reports.
The 47-47 vote arrives just days after a gunman opened fire inside an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, killing at least 21, including 19 children. The bill initially passed the House last week after 10 were killed in a racially-motivated shooting spree in Buffalo, New York.
The legislation would have created offices inside the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and the FBI that are dedicated to investigating and analyzing threats of white supremacy and domestic terrorism.
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GOP senators argued the legislation is unnecessary because "politically motivated violence is already covered by existing laws," The Hill summarizes. The lawmakers were also concerned the bill would allow for improper surveillance of political groups.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday asked his Republican colleagues to let the Senate at least debate the bill, which he said could be used as a vehicle for both Democratic and Republican amendments regarding gun and school safety, The Wall Street Journal writes.
"What an insult it is to put a bill before the House and say our Marines are consumed with white supremacy and neo-Nazism," GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said ahead of the vote.
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