NJ congressman wants to toughen penalties for insurrection
Nearly a dozen New Jersey residents have now been charged in connection with the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capital on Jan. 6.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, is pressing a plan to prevent similar attacks and increase penalties for anyone who does participate in such an uprising.
He said his Stopping Domestic Terrorists Act would double the maximum jail sentence for insurrection against the United States to 20 years.
“We are not a land of lawless thugs," he said. "If you attempt to overturn and overrun our democracy through violence or uprising you will pay the price.”
Additionally Gottheimer said he, along with Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick are leading an effort to urge the president to restore the Office of Community Partnerships within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after it was deprioritized by former President Trump.
He said the OCP, which was created to lead the effort to counter violent extremism, is urgently needed.
“What we have seen in recent months is clear: an increase in violent extremism here on our doorstep, in the backyards of our communities, threatening our American way of life and our democracy," Gottheimer said.
He said the riot at the Capital was the latest example of this threat and “we cannot and will not let this stand.”
Gottheimer said as a member of the Congressional Homeland Security Committee, he will work with fellow Democrats and Republicans to strengthen homeland security.
“There is nothing partisan about fighting insurrectionists. There is nothing partisan about stopping terrorists,” he said. “This is just about red, white and blue. It’s about standing for our country first, protecting our country and our democracy."
Gottheimer said he agrees with President Biden, who said during his inauguration we have “a rise in political extremism, white supremacy domestic terrorism that we must confront and that we will defeat.”
He said the issue of domestic terrorism must immediately be addressed, especially in light of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness increasing the threat level posed by white supremacist extremists from moderate to high last year, and the Anti-Defamation League reporting in 2020 that anti-Semitic incidents and overall hate and bias incidents in the United States hit an all-time high.