New bill would make protesters foot cost of policing, cut looters and vandals from federal unemployment

August 31, 2020 - 8:00 am

Amid Black Lives Matter protests and civil unrest exploding in parts of the country from Portland to Minneapolis -- and including just about community in between -- an Indiana Republican proposed what he sees as a solution to violence, looting and vandalism.

Hit them in the wallet.

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U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind, introduced a bill that would make anyone charged with violence, looting or vandalism in connection with a protest ineligible for enhanced coronavirus unemployment benefits, and financially liable for the cost of policing the protest. That unemployment enhancement added $600 a week to the weekly pay of everyone on unemployment until July 31, when it dropped and became a political hot potato. President Donald Trump wants $400 added to weekly unemployment wages, with help from state coffers. States are deciding case by case whether to apply for the federal benefit to pass on to residents. So far, Vermont, Kansas, Montana, West Virginia, and Kentucky have applied or announced their intention to do so.

Meanwhile, Banks' “Support Peaceful Protest Act” would exclude anyone charged with civil unrest-related crimes from the benefit and make them “financially liable for the cost of federal policing." See it HERE.

“If you’re convicted of a crime that caused more manpower and law enforcement officers to deal with it, then perhaps you should be on the hook to pay for that,” Banks told WIBC-FM in Indianapolis.

Banks added to FOX News he introduced the bill the day after an older couple were harassed by protesters while leaving Trump’s nomination acceptance speech at the White House on Thursday evening.

In his view, the protesters had too much time on their hands because they were jobless and receiving unemployment. 

“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 said. “What my bill would do is add new consequences to those individuals who are breaking the law."

“We should take those tax dollars away and say that those who break the law in violent protest shouldn’t receive taxpayer dollars."

His bill would have to get through committee to earn a vote in the House, and then the Senate. There's no word on whether he has the support of fellow legislators.

Banks calls it a “common sense” bill that adds “accountability for some of these angry mob protests that are occurring around our country.”

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