As lawlessness plagues major cities across the United States, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced legislation last week that would increase the punishment for people convicted of looting and rioting.
Dubbed the "Support Peaceful Protest Act," the bill would make individuals convicted of federal crimes during the course of a protest ineligible for enhanced federal unemployment benefits or any "supplemental unemployment compensation" available to Americans during the COVID-19 panic.
The bill would also "hold individuals convicted of federal offenses during the course of protests financially liable for the cost of federal policing."
The bill states:
In the case of an individual convicted of a Federal offense related to the individual's conduct at and during the course of a protest with respect to which a Federal law enforcement officer was engaged in policing activity, the court shall, in addition to the penalty for such conviction, order the individual to pay an order of restitution to the appropriate Federal law enforcement agency in an amount that is equal to the cost of such policing activity, as determined by the court.
In a statement, Banks said rioters who are destroying cities — like Portland and Kenosha — need to feel the financial burden they are imposing on their communities.
"Antifa thugs are descending on suffering communities, disrupting peaceful protests and leaving violence, looting and vandalism in their wake. They turned Milwaukee, Seattle and Portland into warzones, and now they're moving the chaos to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who knows which community is next?" Banks said.
He added, "Due to enhanced federal benefits, taxpayers are giving wages to jobless rioters that are destroying our communities. We need to cut them off from their funding and make them feel the full financial consequences of their actions."
It's not yet clear if Banks has enough support to secure the bill's passage. The House is on recess until after Labor Day.
However, we already know at least 74 individuals whom Bank's bill would target.
As TheBlaze reported, the Justice Department announced last week federal charges against 74 individuals accused of committing violence in Portland over the last several months.
"Violent agitators have hijacked any semblance of First Amendment protected activity, engaging in violent criminal acts and destruction of public safety," U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said.