GOP Leadership Work To Gain Support On Counterterrorism Package

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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A package of anti-terrorism measures expected to be voted on by the end of this week was pushed back Tuesday evening by House GOP leadership, who are working to garner the support needed for it to pass.

The package includes an identical measure to an amendment introduced by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, which was shot down in the upper chamber in late-June, requiring the attorney general to investigate any gun purchase made by someone on the terrorist watch list.

The House Freedom Caucus expressed some hesitation over the counterterrorism bills, which were slated to be voted on Wednesday. The House Freedom Caucus was concerned it will interfere with individuals’ right to due process, its potential to expand government by creating a new counterterrorism office within the Department of Homeland Security and a provision requiring the attorney general to oversee a list of suspected terrorists.

“I’ve still got major reservations,” Virginia Rep. Dave Brat told The Washington Post, adding he thinks leadership is “just kind of putting bills together that are talking-point, bullet-point oriented, that don’t have substance.”

A GOP aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation that leadership is “doing the work we need to move forward with legislation to confront the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”

Democrats recently staged an unprecedented protest on the House over the GOP’s decision not to bring a gun-control measure that failed in committee to the floor. But Democrats pushed for votes on anti-gun measures be brought to the floor in the wake of the terrorist attack at a gay night club in Florida, which killed 50, including the shooter, last month.

House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke with the leaders of the protest, Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and John Larson of Connecticut, during a members-only meeting Tuesday night at the request of Democrats about the issue.

“While they have different views on how to achieve a shared goal of preventing gun deaths in America – particularly on matters of due process – the speaker was glad they were able to have the discussion,” Ryan spokesperson AshLee Strong said in an email following the meeting. “The path ahead on the anti-terrorism package will be discussed and determined by the majority in the coming days.”

Top Republicans accused the minority party of politicizing an act of terror by attempting to change the narrative from the issue of radical Islamic terrorism to gun control.

GOP lawmakers made it clear they thought the protest was a publicity stunt that shouldn’t be rewarded and are looking into potential disciplinary action for rules that were broken during the demonstration.

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