Wednesday, March 4, 2015

HR 1022 Introduced – Countering Violent Extremism

As I mentioned earlier Rep. Walker (R,NC) introduced HR 1022, the Countering Violent Extremism [CVE] Grants Act. This bill would amend 6 USC 609 by adding a new authorized use for Urban Area Security Grants and State Homeland Security Grants.

Section 2 of the bill lays out the justification for the expansion of the use of the two grant programs. It notes recent high profile attacks conducted by homegrown terrorists in Europe, Canada and the US. It concludes that there are too “few initiatives exist to help communities understand the threat, prevent domestic radicalization, counter the narrative of extremists, and provide pathways to deradicalization (sic) for individuals who have become radicalized so they do not resort to violence” {§2(a)(5)}.

To help provide funding for programs that address this issue the bill would amend the list of allowable uses for the two largest DHS grant programs by adding to §609(a) a new allowable use for those funds; ‘countering violent extremism’. Allowable uses under this heading would include {new §609(a)(6)}:

● Training programs;
● The development, implementation, or expansion of programs to engage communities that may be targeted by violent extremist radicalization; and
● The development and implementation of projects to partner with local communities to prevent radicalization to violence.

While this is a clear expansion of the allowable uses for these grants, it does not actually expand the amount of money available for these grant programs. That means it effectively reduces the funds for the other allowable uses for the grant programs to fund these new uses. This is a classic example of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Since ‘countering violent extremism’ is the current counter-terrorism buzz word and no new funding is being provided this bill would probably pass in the House if it is brought to a floor vote. As is the problem with most passable bills it will be getting the attention of the Homeland Security Committee leadership that will be trick. Walker is a fairly junior member of the Committee, but he does have an influential co-sponsor, Chairman McCaul (R,TX). I expect that we will see this bill move fairly quickly thru the Committee and to the floor of the House.

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