Democrats Call on Speaker Ryan to Establish a Select Committee on the Rise of White Supremacy and Domestic Terrorism

September 7, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, leading House Democrats called on Speaker Paul Ryan to establish a Select Committee on the Rise of White Supremacy and Domestic Terrorism. The letter to Speaker Ryan was led by Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) and signed by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sanchez.

Crowley was also joined by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), the chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Mark Pocan (D-WI), a co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, in introducing a resolution to create a select committee to examine the rise in domestic terrorism and white supremacy.

The violence in Charlottesville, including the tragic murder of Heather Heyer, is a symptom of a larger epidemic of threats of violence and hate against minorities and immigrations nationwide. These violent views have found footing in the mainstream and seen a significant growth in interest in tandem with the election of President Trump.

“The recent acts of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups shed light on the threat white supremacy poses to national security and stability,” said Chairman Crowley. “It is now time for Republicans and Democrats to speak with one voice. Congress should not stand idly by while violent white nationalists and neo-Nazis seek to expand their ranks and threaten our fellow Americans.

A select committee would dedicate resources to investigating the rise of white supremacy in the United States and ensure Congress takes responsibility to address this troubling epidemic and protect those Americans at risk. The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation have equally expressed concerns about this rise in extremism.

“Hate groups that worship at the altar of white supremacy are on the rise.  Donald Trump has chosen to provide aid and comfort to the alt right and unrepentant racists like David Duke,” said CBC Chairman Richmond.  “In the absence of presidential leadership, a congressional select committee is needed to aggressively confront the troubling growth of hate groups, Neo Nazis and domestic terrorism in America.”

“Our number one concern is to keep our nation safe from terror and harm, which is why we must take all threats and terrorist acts posed by the rise of white supremacy and domestic terrorism very seriously,” said CHC Chairwoman Lujan Grisham. “In a troubling and concerning trend, the number of hate groups in the United States has ticked up since the 2016 presidential campaign. So the President’s decision to cut federal funding for groups fighting the rise of hate ideology is deeply alarming. A select committee would send a strong message that Congress will root out divisive and violent rhetoric, ideology, and actions and develop strategies to suppress the rise of radicalization and recruitment efforts by hate groups.”

“The alarming increase in hate violence that we have witnessed in the last year demands real action to ensure that this rising tide of white supremacy and bigotry does not continue to terrorize minority communities across the country,” said CAPAC Chairwoman Chu. “The hateful actions by white supremacists in Charlottesville and the continued attacks on religious minorities, including American Muslims and Sikhs, demand more than statements of condemnation. It is clear that white supremacists espouse values that not only run contrary to our nation’s shared values of diversity and inclusion, but furthers a culture of fear and violence that ultimately makes America less safe. Congress must investigate this growing threat to our communities and find solutions to protect all Americans from domestic terrorism. I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues to establish this Select Committee and to take concrete steps to defeat hate and white supremacy.”

Read the resolution and letter here.