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Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Representing the 15th District of Texas

Congressman Gonzalez and Blue Dog Coalition Call for Hearings on Domestic Terrorism Related to White Supremacy

September 11, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) and Brad Schneider (IL-10), co-chairs of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Defense, sent a letter to House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman, Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10), calling for public hearings focused on domestic terrorism related to white supremacist groups.

The letter was written in support of Blue Dog Congressman Lou Correa (CA-46), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, who was the first House Democrat to write a letter to Chairman McCaul calling for a public hearing on domestic terrorism related to white supremacy groups after the events that took place in Charlottesville last month.

“The House Committee on Homeland Security is charged with the responsibility of protecting the American people from the threat of terrorism,” said Congressmen Gonzalez and Schneider. “If we are to better protect the American people, we cannot ignore the fact that these domestic white supremacist groups are emboldened by recent events. It’s time to face the facts: this isn’t a political issue—it’s a national security issue. We call on you to investigate white supremacy domestic terrorism to keep the American people and the homeland safe from further harm.”

The letter was also signed by the following members of the Blue Dog Coalition: Congressmen Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Jim Costa (CA-16), Lou Correa (CA-46), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Collin C. Peterson (MN-07), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), David Scott (GA-13), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Congresswomen Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), and Stephanie Murphy (FL-07).

See the full text of the letter below:

 

September 8, 2017

 

The Honorable Michael McCaul

Chairman

Committee on Homeland Security

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman McCaul:

As members of the Blue Dog Coalition and co-chairs of the Coalition’s Task Force on National Defense, we believe that in order to ensure a strong national defense for our country, we must fully address the threat of terrorism—both foreign and domestic. On August 14, 2017, Blue Dog Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) sent you a letter requesting that the House Homeland Security Committee hold public hearings to fully investigate the issue of domestic terrorism in the United States, specifically terrorism related to white supremacist groups. Today, we write to you on behalf of the Blue Dog Coalition in support of this timely and important request. 

It is important to recognize that the horrific events that took place in Charlottesville last month were symptomatic of a larger, more disturbing national security threat. In May 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released an intelligence bulletin titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” which predicted that members of the white supremacist movement are likely to continue to present a lethal threat in the next year. In that report, the DHS and FBI stated that white supremacist extremists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016, more than any other domestic extremist movement.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has reported the number of hate groups operating in the United States in 2016 rose to 917—and that number has been described by the SPLC as “high by historic standards.” Earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League reported that over the past 25 years, white supremacists committed 42 percent of right-wing terror incidents in the United States. 

As Congressman Correa stated in his August 14 letter, the House Homeland Security Committee is charged with the responsibility of protecting the American people from the threat of terrorism. If we are to better protect the American people, we cannot ignore the fact that these domestic white supremacist groups are emboldened by recent events. It’s time to face the facts: this isn’t a political issue—it’s a national security issue. We call on you to investigate white supremacy domestic terrorism to keep the American people and the homeland safe from further harm.

Sincerely,

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX)

Co-Chair, Task Force on National Security

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL)

Co-Chair, Task Force on National Security

This letter has the full support of the following members of the Blue Dog Coalition:

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).