“Countering Violent Extremism” Bill is Wrong Response to Orlando Terrorist Attack

In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack in Orlando that left 49 people dead and 53 injured, Americans expect a strong and serious Congressional response to make our country safer and help prevent future attacks. Today, the House will vote on H.R. 5471, the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act. Unfortunately, the bill is neither a serious response nor will it help make our country safer.

The bill is actually a combination of three previously passed bills. The main provision (H.R. 4401) perpetuates the failed and misguided strategy of “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) as an approach to fighting terrorism. The Heritage Foundation’s Robin Simcox explains the purpose of CVE in his recent article The Unmentionable Origins of Terrorism:  

There has been a concerted attempt to scrub any religious aspect from the actions of ISIS and al-Qaeda: That is why phrases like “violent extremism” even exist. (First mainstreamed by the British government, “violent extremism” was dreamed up as a way to avoid saying “Islamic” or “Islamist” extremism in the months after the July 2005 suicide bombings in London. The phrase swiftly traveled across the Atlantic and into the U.S. government’s vocabulary.)”

As Rep. David Brat (R-VA) 94% noted in his op-ed What Congress Didn’t Do This Week to Stop Terrorism:

“These bills supposedly “counter violent extremism” (CVE,) but they actually do nothing to tackle the underlying danger that Islamic extremism poses here in the U.S. “Countering violent extremism” is a euphemistic, politically-correct term that refuses to name, let alone solve, the threat posed to the U.S by Islamists across the globe.

“For the first time in a decade, Americans rank terrorism as the top problem the U.S. faces, and the fact that there are nearly 900 homegrown ISIS cases being investigated by the FBI across all 50 states shows that these concerns are valid. Instead of passing a package of do-nothing bills … GOP leadership should allow votes on bills that will ensure the safety and security of all U.S. citizens.”

Instead of perpetuating the Obama administration’s preferred approach, House Republicans should lead with serious policies to make us safer. Whatever the answer is to Orlando, we know it is not a 9-page CVE bill. As Simcox made clear:  

“A new, bolder method is needed. The CVE strategy is the symptom of a craven approach to addressing the causes of terrorism.”

House Republicans should listen to this advice and forge a new path forward, taking strong and serious action to secure our citizens from Islamic terrorist threats, not furthering a failed policy that makes for little more than a talking point.

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