Underwood’s Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Communities from Domestic Terrorism Passes the House

September 30, 2020
Press Release
Passage of the legislation comes amidst growing threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s (IL-14) bipartisan legislation to ensure communities have the resources needed to protect themselves from domestic terrorism, mass shootings, and other forms of targeted violence passed the House of Representatives. The Safe Communities Act of 2020 (H.R. 5780) would help direct resources to rural and suburban communities, which have historically experienced funding gaps, to ensure that first responders, schools, nonprofits, and houses of worship can protect themselves against violent attacks. The legislation is co-lead by Representative John Katko (NY-24). Underwood is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation. 

Following a shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Underwood questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray in a Committee on Homeland Security hearing on the steps the agency has taken to support local communities in addressing the alarming rise in violent extremism. Director Wray testified before the committee that white supremacist extremists in particular are a leading threat to our nation.  

“Suburban and rural communities are increasingly targets of violence, but often don’t have access to the federal resources they need to protect themselves. Our workplaces, schools, and places of worship are far too vulnerable to domestic terrorism, mass shootings, and other forms of targeted violence. The Safe Communities Act seeks to fix that,” said Underwood. “I’m grateful for the collaboration and leadership of Representative Katko on this bipartisan effort to make sure every community in America has the resources it needs to keep people safe.” 

A full video of Underwood’s remarks on the legislation can be found here.

The Safe Communities Act would direct the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to:  

  • Develop a strategy for improving outreach to rural and suburban areas and ensuring that Protective Security Advisors (PSAs) deliver federal resources and guidance to these communities to bolster their security and resilience; 
  • Establish a PSA Force Multiplier Pilot Program to provide training and support to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers to improve their capability to carry out risk assessments of critical infrastructure facilities and nonprofit organizations; and 
  • Help communities protect themselves from extremist violence by maintaining a clearinghouse of security guidance, best practices, and other resources.

The Safe Communities Act of 2020 is endorsed by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Anti-Defamation League.