This bill would direct the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to, when practical, use testimonials from former extremists, their friends, and families to counter-message the propaganda and recruiting efforts of terrorist groups. DHS could also coordinate the identification and use of testimonials with other federal entities, non-governmental and international partners.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Intelligence and CounterterrorismCommittee on Homeland SecurityIntroducedFebruary 28th, 2017
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 1250?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 1250
In-Depth: Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), issued the following statement upon the House Homeland Security Committee’s approval of this bill's predecessor the day after the terrorist attacks on Brussels:
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Belgian people and all affected by yesterday’s attacks. Today we spoke with a bipartisan voice: we will not be intimidated, and we will take immediate steps to ramp up security at home and abroad. Today’s measures are important in helping keep the American people safe from the indiscriminate violence of jihadists. I would like to specifically commend Rep. Katko (R-NY), Rep. McSally (R-AZ), and Rep. Perry (R-PA) for their hard work on these bills—and Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN) for his leadership on countering the terrorist threat.”
While this legislation was passed by voice vote in the House Homeland Security Committee during the last Congress, Democratic members of the committee raised concerns that the legislation targeted Islamic terrorists while ignoring homegrown extremists. They introduced nine amendments aimed at explicitly including domestic terror groups, all of which were rejected — although the final text of the legislation makes no mention of specific groups, only "violent extremists."
DHS has also expressed misgivings with the proposal on the grounds that they lack the personnel to effectively use testimonials. And that their use may complicate subsequent federal investigations:
“DHS cautions that public perception of how these testimonials are obtained could affect... community engagement and countering violent extremism efforts — especially with the Muslim community. Gaining and maintaining the trust of the community is central to the success of our outreach efforts.”
During the last Congress this bill was passed by the House on a 322-79 vote but stalled in the Senate.
Media:Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user FreedomHouse)