Dems, GOP at odds over Islamophobia bill

Washington

If House passes, bill has a tough time ahead with Senate Republicans

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Democrats say whether it’s around the world or in the halls of Congress, Islamophobia is a serious problem that should be addressed. They are poised to pass a bill in the House to help fight anti-Muslim hate by creating a special office.

But Republicans oppose the bill. They say it’s being rushed and could have unintended consequences.

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmuter of Colorado said the efforts in the House “arose because of a bigoted joke” from another Colorado representative, Lauren Boebert.

Boebert said she has never sympathized with terrorists. “Unfortunately, Ilhan can’t say the same thing.”

She was referring to Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who introduced a bill to create a State Department office led by a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Muslim hate.

“We want to call it out wherever we see it and make sure it is part of a report,” said New York Democrat Gregory Meeks.

Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said, “I fail to see anything partisan about the underlying bill here.”

But Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, said, “I’m not sure it’s a partisan issue at all.”

The GOP said the bill is not ready to be passed and needs to better define terms like Islamophobia and harassment.

“What constitutes harassment or those sorts of things? Or is it just something that, sort of like pornography, you’ll know it when you see it?” Cole said.

“No, I think that it’s something like the anti-Semitism bill that passed almost unanimously,” Meeks replied.

Republicans said they won’t support the bill for fear of unintended consequences.

“Counter-terrorism effort by Israel — would that be considered anti-Muslim?” asked Texas Republican Michael McCaul.

After passage in the House, the bill will have a hard time overcoming blocks by Senate Republicans.

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