An Indiana congressman wants to hold convicted protesters financially accountable, as well as prevent them from seeing unemployment benefits throughout the remainder of the pandemic.
Rep. Jim Banks introduced the Support Peaceful Protest Act on Friday, which requires those who were arrested on federal charges during demonstrations to pay for the costs of federal policing during the event, according to a press release from his office. The crimes can go beyond acts of violence, looting and vandalism, the statement indicated.
“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?” Banks expressed in the release.
“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.”
The Republican’s two-page bill dictates that arrested protesters must pay “restitution” to the appropriate law enforcement agency in an amount comparable to the cost of policing the activity that inspired the arrest, according to an online version. It also touches on financial liability for conviction.
On another note, the Act aims to bar the convicted individuals from 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,” the online version states.
However, USA Today says it is unlikely the bill will pass with “Democrats in control of the House of Representatives.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Banks Says He Was Inspired to Sponsor the Bill After 2 of His Constituents Were ‘Harassed’ by Protesters
The congressman told Fox & Friends Weekend he was inspired to sponsor the bill after two of his constituents, an older couple, were harassed while leaving President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech last week.
“When I saw this happen to friends of mine walking out of the White House on a historic night, they came to see the president, one of the best presidents in a lifetime speak at the White House, they never could have imagined what they would be met with when they left the White House that night,” Banks said to the anchors on Sunday.
“Let me say if this happened in a community in northeast Indiana, that Antifa thug would have been arrested and charged with assault and should be behind bars,” he continued. “But they’re not because these big-city mayors are turning a blind eye to this type of violence.”
Although the $600 in Unemployment Benefits Expired in July, Indiana & Several Other States Can Still Give an Extra $300
Heavy previously reported that the additional $600 in federal unemployment insurance expired in July. In an effort to continue to provide aid to those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, Trump announced in early August the Lost Wages Assistance Program.
The program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has already approved several states including Indiana, Heavy indicated, citing the agency’s website.
States are required to announce whether they will choose the $300 or $400 option; those that choose $400 will funnel $100 in state funds on top of the $300 provided through FEMA, Heavy wrote.