House Bill Seeks To Block Rioters from Receiving COVID-Related Unemployment Benefits
A Republican congressman has decided that it is time the nation drew a hard line with rioters so that they can’t hold a brick with one hand and taxpayer-funded benefits with the other.
Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana on Friday introduced the “Support Peaceful Protest Act,” which would ban convicted rioters from receiving enhanced federal unemployment assistance that is being provided to help the nation respond to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Banks also want those whose actions required federal forces to be sent to the community to help offset the cost of that law enforcement personnel being called up.
“Antifa thugs are descending on suffering communities, disrupting peaceful protests and leaving violence, looting, and vandalism in their wake,” he said in a news release.
“They turned Milwaukee, Seattle, and Portland into warzones, and now they’re moving the chaos to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who knows which community is next?”
“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,” he said.
Banks said he supports the right of peaceful protest but believes many who commit acts of violence are living off the system.
“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,” he told WIBC-FM.
One tipping point that Banks noted was having a Fort Wayne, Indiana, couple accosted by protesters on Thursday after they left the White House’s South Lawn, where they had come to hear President Donald Trump give his Republican National Convention acceptance speech.
“The photo of them leaving … has gone viral on the internet,” he said.
“As they left the angry mob got in their face. A violent mobster with both middle fingers in this woman’s face, trying to incite them.”
The concept drew support on Twitter:
Banks said the rioting and looting in America’s cities need to be brought under control.
“What we’re seeing happen in big cities and around the country are angry violent mobs showing up at federal properties, tearing down monuments on federal properties, especially in Washington, D.C., and it’s got to stop,” he told WIBC, according to Fox News.
“What my bill would do is add new consequences to those individuals who are breaking the law,” Banks said.
He called the bill a “common sense” step that creates “accountability for some of these angry mob protests that are occurring around our country.”
“The people who are acting out in violence are very different from those who are showing up peacefully and it’s easy to see the difference,” he added.
“We should take those tax dollars away and say that those who break the law in violent protest shouldn’t receive taxpayer dollars.”
The legislation says that “In the case of an individual convicted of a Federal offense related to the individual’s conduct at and during the course of a protest with respect to which a Federal law enforcement officer was engaged in policing activity, the court shall, in addition to the penalty for such conviction, order the individual to pay an order of restitution to the appropriate Federal law enforcement agency in an amount that is equal to the cost of such policing activity, as determined by the court.”
“An individual convicted of a Federal offense related to the individual’s conduct at and during the course of a protest is ineligible for any Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation under section 2104 of the CARES Act (15 U.S.C. 9023) or any other Federal supplemental unemployment compensation during the COVID–19 public health emergency (as such term is defined in section 2102 of the CARES Act (15 U.S.C. 9021).”
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.