Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana wants so-called rioters and looters to lose their unemployment benefits and on Friday introduced the “Support Peaceful Protest Act”.
If the bill is passed, people who police authorities say are rioting and looting could lose federal unemployment benefits and be forced to pay for extra policing needed at protests, The New York Post reported.
“Antifa thugs are descending on suffering communities, disrupting peaceful protests and leaving violence, looting and vandalism in their wake,” Banks said while introducing the bill. A military veteran, Banks was deployed to Afghanistan. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve as a supply corps officer.
Banks blames anti-fascist forces — militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology — for the violence at protests.
“They turned Milwaukee, Seattle, and Portland into war zones, and now they’re moving the chaos to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who knows which community is next?” he asked in a statement.
Protests have been ongoing since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody. New protests against police brutality broke out following the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. Police shot him seven times in the back at point-blank range. Blake reportedly told police he had a knife in his vehicle. Two days later, police at a Kenosha protest allowed 17-year-old white supremacist suspect Kyle Rittenhouse to walk around freely, despite the fact that he was carrying an assault weapon. Witnesses screamed to the police that Rittenhouse had shot protesters. Days later, Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two protesters in Kenosha.
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Banks’ proposed bill will also hold those convicted financially liable for the cost of law enforcement “in an amount that is equal to the cost of such policing activity,” the bill says.
Banks wants people engaging in rioting, looting, and arson stripped of federal benefits accessible during the covid-19 crisis from the CARES Act.
The bill will have to pass the U.S. House and Senate before it becomes law.
Banks said he thinks a majority of rioters who intentionally disrupt protests are currently unemployed and receiving benefits.
“Due to enhanced federal benefits, taxpayers are giving wages to jobless rioters that are destroying our communities. We need to cut them off from their funding and make them feel the full financial consequences of their actions,” Banks told WIBC.
He continued, ”Many of these people are not working. They have the time to show up every day at some of these violent protests like in Washington, D.C. and they’re getting $600 a week of unemployment to do it, and that’s got to stop.”
Banks was referring to chaotic scenes that unfolded in Washington, D.C., after the Republican National Convention at the White House. Convention attendees including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), were heckled as they exited the event.
Paul claimed that a “crazed mob” was “shouting threats to kill us.” Police had to protect Paul and his wife.
A photo of two of Banks’ constituents, an elderly couple from Indiana, was published showing them being verbally abused and intimidated by a young protester as they left the convention, MSN reported.
Banks shared the image and blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a tweet for not doing enough to stop bad behavior.
“Hey @SpeakerPelosi, these are my constituent. They are good people. If you told these mobs to stop, I have a feeling they would…” Banks tweeted.
So far, more than 70 people have been charged with federal crimes and citations related to the clashes between authorities and Portland protesters, according to the Justice Department. “Among them: two local lawyers, a middle-class mother from the suburbs, teenagers accused of lobbing explosive fireworks, a yoga instructor, and a grocery store worker who allegedly wielded a laser pen as a weapon,” The Washington Post reported on Aug. 5. That was before protests started against police brutality in the Jacob Blake case.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
The Portland charges alone as reported through Aug. 5 include 24 felonies, 45 misdemeanors, and five citations. At least 23 cases have had the charges dropped, according to the Justice Department.
Lisa Hay, a federal public defender for the District of Oregon, told The Washington Post, “The defendants are as varied as the protesters you see on TV. Professionals, lawyers, stay-at-home moms, young people, college students.” Hay has worked on 60 such cases.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, recently testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that there had been 277 injuries to about 140 federal law enforcement officers in Portland.