Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul offered a blistering critique of a domestic terrorism bill supported by Democrats Tuesday, moments before GOP senators blocked the bill from advancing.
In remarks on the Senate floor, Paul called the legislation an "insult" to police officers and members of the armed services.
"The implication of this bill is that all people are bad. That there's this great and worrisome thing that is infecting America when the opposite is true," Paul said, referring to claims by Democrats and the media that white supremacist ideology and the so-called "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory are fueling domestic terror in the U.S.
"They're insulting everyone. They're insulting the police, they're insulting our Marines, they're insulting our armed services," he said.
Democrats brought the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 up for debate in response to the recent deadly mass shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The bill passed in the House days after the Buffalo shooting, when a self-described white supremacist killed 10 people at a grocery store in a largely black neighborhood.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) characterized the bill as an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to address gun violence in America.
“The bill is so important because the mass shooting in Buffalo was an act of domestic terrorism. We need to call it what it is, domestic terrorism. It was terrorism that fed off the poison of conspiracy theories like white replacement theory,” Schumer said in a floor speech ahead of the vote, according to The Hill.
The legislation would create two new offices in the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security specifically assigned to combat domestic terrorism. It would also set up a task force to address white supremacy in the U.S. military. Each new agency would be required to submit a report every six months examining "the domestic terrorism threat posed by White supremacists and neo-Nazis, including White supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and the uniformed service," CBS News reports.
Paul accused these proposed offices of being the "thought police of the military" and said Democrats know the bill has no chance of ever becoming law.
"It's a dumb Washington talking-points memo masquerading as legislation," Paul said. "But it's also a grave insult to anyone involved in law enforcement, anyone involved in the military."
A vote on the measure split 47-47 along party lines, falling well short of the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster.