September 12, 2017

Congress Approves Bipartisan, Bicameral Resolution Condemning White Nationalists, Neo Nazis, KKK And Other Hate Groups

~ Resolution instructing the Trump Administration to address the rise of hate groups now heads to the President for his signature ~

WASHINGTON – Congress today approved a bipartisan, bicameral resolution led by Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA)—prompted by the violence and domestic terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Va. last month—condemning white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.  The joint resolution (S. J. Res. 49) also calls upon the Trump Administration to use all available resources to improve data collection on hate crimes and to work in a coordinated way to address the growing prevalence of hate groups.

“Our nation’s elected leaders have a responsibility to stand up to forces of hatred and bigotry wherever they may be found. What happened in Charlottesville was domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists who tragically cut short the life of a young woman, Heather Heyer, and led to the deaths of two Virginia State Police troopers Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen.  The United States Congress has spoken up with one voice to recognize the lives of those we lost, to unconditionally condemn racist speech and violence, and to denounce the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hate groups,” said the Senators. “We hope that President Trump will move quickly to sign this resolution and commit his Administration to address the rise of hate groups.”

The legislation was co-sponsored in the Senate by 57 bipartisan Senators, including Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

A companion version with identical language was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week by Reps. Tom Garrett (R-VA-5) and Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11) with support from the entire Virginia House delegation.

The joint resolution recognizes the death of Heather Heyer, 32, and the injuries suffered by many others after a car allegedly driven by a neo-Nazi slammed into a crowd of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville. The resolution specifically describes that event as a “domestic terrorist attack.” The resolution also acknowledges the heroism and public service of Virginia State Police troopers Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen, who died in the crash of their helicopter while monitoring the protests. Finally, it expresses support for the people of Charlottesville as that community heals “following these acts of violent bigotry.”   

The joint resolution also has the support of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It now heads to President Trump for his signature.

The text of the resolution is available here. More background on how a Joint Resolution works is available here.