Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks introduced a House bill last week that would render those convicted of vandalism and violent looting during a protest ineligible for federal unemployment benefits, which have been enhanced in the wake of COVID-19.
The Support Peaceful Protest Act would also require those convicted to providing restitution for the cost of federal policing in a sum determined by the court.
In an Aug. 28 press release announcing the resolution, Banks said:
Antifa thugs are descending on suffering communities, disrupting peaceful protests and leaving violence, looting and vandalism in their wake. 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.
According to the text of the bill:
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. 18 9021).
Banks introduced the bill the same day he denounced an activist’s vulgar harassment of an elderly couple as they were leaving the South Lawn of the White House on the final night of the Republican National Convention (RNC). Calling out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Banks tweeted, “Hey [Pelosi], these are my constituents. They are good people. If you told these mobs to stop, I have a feeling they would …”
Hey @SpeakerPelosi, these are my constituents. They are good people.
If you told these mobs to stop, I have a feeling they would … https://t.co/l5qIT52XM4
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) August 28, 2020
Over the past few days, the area around Lafayette Park, the White House, and Black Lives Matter Plaza has been the scene of tense showdowns between foul-mouthed activists and police, as well as some lawmakers, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Democratic Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones.
After being accosted in the street as they left the RNC, both Paul and Jones called for federal investigations into the origin of the large groups. “I promise you that at least some of the members and the people who attacked us were not from D.C.,” Paul said. “They flew here on a plane, they’ve all got fresh, new clothes, and they were paid to be here. It is a crime to do that, and it needs to be traced. The FBI needs to investigate, but the only way you can do it is you have to arrest people.”