(Senate - February 14, 2019)

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[Pages S1385-S1387]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


      By Ms. HARRIS (for herself, Mr. Booker, Mr. Scott of South 
        Carolina, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Jones, Mr. Reed, 
        Ms. Warren, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Van Hollen, Mr. Brown, Mr. King, 
        Mr. Markey, Ms. Klobuchar, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Coons, Ms. 
        Baldwin, Mr. Kaine, Ms. Duckworth, Mr. Warner, Ms. Cortez 
        Masto, Mr. Durbin, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Wyden, Ms. Hassan, Mr. 
        Murphy, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Tillis, Mr. Rubio, Ms. Smith, Mr. 
        Cardin, Mrs. Fischer, Mr. Sanders, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Perdue, 
        Mr. Bennet, Ms. Collins, Mr. Lankford, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Isakson, 
        Mrs. Hyde-Smith, Ms. Ernst, Mr. Grassley, Mrs. Capito, Mr. 
        Cassidy, Mr. Portman, and Ms. Murkowski):
  S. 488. A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to specify 
lynching as a deprivation of civil rights, and for other purposes; 
considered and passed.

                                 S. 488

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Justice for Victims of 
     Lynching Act of 2019''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
       (1) The crime of lynching succeeded slavery as the ultimate 
     expression of racism in the United States following 
       (2) Lynching was a widely acknowledged practice in the 
     United States until the middle of the 20th century.
       (3) Lynching was a crime that occurred throughout the 
     United States, with documented incidents in all but 4 States.
       (4) At least 4,742 people, predominantly African Americans, 
     were reported lynched in the United States between 1882 and 
       (5) Ninety-nine percent of all perpetrators of lynching 
     escaped from punishment by State or local officials.
       (6) Lynching prompted African Americans to form the 
     National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 
     (referred to in this section as the ``NAACP'') and prompted 
     members of B'nai B'rith to found the Anti-Defamation League.
       (7) Mr. Walter White, as a member of the NAACP and later as 
     the executive secretary of the NAACP from 1931 to 1955, 
     meticulously investigated lynchings in the United States and 
     worked tirelessly to end segregation and racialized terror.
       (8) Nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in 
     Congress during the first half of the 20th century.
       (9) Between 1890 and 1952, 7 Presidents petitioned Congress 
     to end lynching.
       (10) Between 1920 and 1940, the House of Representatives 
     passed 3 strong anti-lynching measures.
       (11) Protection against lynching was the minimum and most 
     basic of Federal responsibilities, and the Senate considered 
     but failed to enact anti-lynching legislation despite 
     repeated requests by civil rights groups, Presidents, and the 
     House of Representatives to do so.
       (12) The publication of ``Without Sanctuary: Lynching 
     Photography in America'' helped bring greater awareness and 
     proper recognition of the victims of lynching.
       (13) Only by coming to terms with history can the United 
     States effectively champion human rights abroad.
       (14) An apology offered in the spirit of true repentance 
     moves the United States toward reconciliation and may become 
     central to a new understanding, on which improved racial 
     relations can be forged.
       (15) Having concluded that a reckoning with our own history 
     is the only way the country can effectively champion human 
     rights abroad, 90 Members of the United States Senate agreed 
     to Senate Resolution 39, 109th Congress, on June 13, 2005, to 
     apologize to the victims of lynching and the descendants of 
     those victims for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-
     lynching legislation.
       (16) The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which 
     opened to the public in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 26, 
     2018, is the Nation's first memorial dedicated to the legacy 
     of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, 
     African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim 
     Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary 
     presumptions of guilt and police violence.
       (17) Notwithstanding the Senate's apology and the 
     heightened awareness and education about the Nation's legacy 
     with lynching, it is wholly necessary and appropriate for the 
     Congress to enact legislation, after 100 years of 
     unsuccessful legislative efforts, finally to make lynching a 
     Federal crime.
       (18) Further, it is the sense of Congress that criminal 
     action by a group increases the likelihood that the criminal 
     object of that group will be successfully attained and 
     decreases the probability that the individuals involved will 
     depart from their path of criminality. Therefore, it is 
     appropriate to specify criminal penalties for the crime of 
     lynching, or any attempt or conspiracy to commit lynching.
       (19) The United States Senate agreed to unanimously Senate 
     Resolution 118, 115th Congress, on April 5, 2017, 
     ``[c]ondemning hate crime and any other form of racism, 
     religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to 
     violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United 
     States'' and taking notice specifically of Federal Bureau of 
     Investigation statistics demonstrating that ``among single-
     bias hate crime incidents in the United States, 59.2 percent 
     of victims were targeted due to racial, ethnic, or ancestral 
     bias, and among those victims, 52.2 percent were victims of 
     crimes motivated by the offenders' anti-Black or anti-African 
     American bias''.
       (20) On September 14, 2017, President Donald J. Trump 
     signed into law Senate Joint Resolution 49 (Public Law 115-
     58; 131 Stat. 1149), wherein Congress ``condemn[ed] the 
     racist violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place 
     between August 11 and August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, 
     Virginia'' and ``urg[ed] the President and his administration 
     to speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, 
     extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy; 
     and use all resources available to the President and the 
     President's Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of 
     those hate groups in the United States''.
       (21) Senate Joint Resolution 49 (Public Law 115-58; 131 
     Stat. 1149) specifically took notice of ``hundreds of torch-
     bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and 
     neo-Nazis [who] chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-
     immigrant slogans and violently engaged with counter-
     demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of 
     Virginia in Charlottesville'' and that these groups 
     ``reportedly are organizing similar events in other cities in 
     the United States and communities everywhere are concerned 
     about the growing and open display of hate and violence being 
     perpetrated by those groups''.
       (22) Lynching was a pernicious and pervasive tool that was 
     used to interfere with multiple aspects of life--including 
     the exercise of Federally protected rights, as enumerated in 
     section 245 of title 18, United States Code, housing rights, 
     as enumerated in section 901 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 3631), and the free exercise of religion, as 
     enumerated in section 247 of title 18, United States Code. 
     Interference with these rights was often effectuated by 
     multiple offenders and groups, rather than isolated 
     individuals. Therefore, prohibiting conspiracies

[[Page S1386]]

     to violate each of these rights recognizes the history of 
     lynching in the United States and serves to prohibit its use 
     in the future.

     SEC. 3. LYNCHING.

       (a) Offense.--Chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, 
     is amended by adding at the end the following:

     ``Sec. 250. Lynching

       ``Whoever conspires with another person to violate section 
     245, 247, or 249 of this title or section 901 of the Civil 
     Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3631) shall be punished in the 
     same manner as a completed violation of such section, except 
     that if the maximum term of imprisonment for such completed 
     violation is less than 10 years, the person may be imprisoned 
     for not more than 10 years.''.
       (b) Table of Sections Amendment.--The table of sections for 
     chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by 
     inserting after the item relating to section 249 the 

``250. Lynching.''.

      By Mr. GRASSLEY (for himself, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Jones, Mr. Scott of 
        Florida, Mr. Manchin, and Mr. Gardner):
  S. 495. A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to reauthorize 
and expand the National Threat Assessment Center of the Department of 
Homeland Security; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

                               Eagles Act

  Mr. President, I come to the floor today to take a moment and 
remember the tragedy that occurred a year ago at the Marjory Stoneman 
Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
  One year ago today, on Valentine's Day, 17 innocent lives were lost 
at the hands of a troubled, evil young man who entered a high school 
and opened fire.
  The tragedy in Parkland cannot be forgotten.
  We in the Senate cannot afford to forget such senseless acts of 
violence, and instead must continue to fight to prevent dangerous 
attacks in our country and our schools.
  I remain dedicated to keeping weapons out of the hands of those who 
seek to harm others.
  That is why I am proud to reintroduce the EAGLES Act of 2019.
  Along with Senators Rubio, Scott from Florida, Jones, Manchin, and 
Gardner, I am reintroducing a piece of legislation today that 
proactively works to mitigate threats of violence on school campuses.
  The EAGLES Act is named after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High 
School Mascot, the Eagles.
  It reauthorizes and expands the U.S. Secret Service's National Threat 
Assessment Center which is used to study targeted violence and develop 
best practices and training to identify and manage threats before they 
result in violence.
  This legislation also allows the Secret Service to focus a 
significant portion of its efforts directly on school safety by 
equipping communities and schools with training and best practices on 
recognizing and preventing school violence.
  In the wake of the Parkland shooting, there has been a flurry of 
activism, opinions, and action on the issue of gun safety, gun 
violence, and rights guaranteed to law abiding citizens under the 
Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
  It's our obligation as members of Congress to discuss issues, 
shortcomings, and room for advancement.
  The EAGLES Act is part of the solution to prevent future violence in 
our communities.
  This past year in the Senate, we took important steps to address gun 
violence and solutions to prevent future attacks.
  Through investigations, hearings, oversight of federal agencies, and 
legislation, I worked with my colleagues to shed light on the issue and 
seek solutions.
  For example, last Congress, two instrumental pieces of legislation to 
help protect Americans from future acts of violence were signed into 
  The first was the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School 
Violence Act, which provides funding to schools to strengthen their 
infrastructure to make it more difficult for shooters to enter schools.
  The other bill signed into law was the Fix NICS Act.
  This law penalizes Federal agencies who fail to comply with the 
requirements in current law to report dangerous individuals and violent 
criminals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  These laws enjoyed bipartisan support and will help keep our 
communities safe.
  As former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I also held a number 
of hearings on gun violence, one which specifically addressed the 
government's role and failures in preventing the Parkland shooting.
  It was because of the lack of government coordination, successful 
identification of threats, and mitigation of dangers that I introduced 
the EAGLES Act last Congress.
  As we learned in the hearing following the Parkland shooting and 
through subsequent investigations, there was much more that should have 
been done to prevent the Parkland shooting from happening.
  There's still more to do to address the issue of targeted violence.
  I expect my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will continue to 
propose solutions.
  It's a conversation worth having. We should find more ways to keep 
weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals while still 
protecting important constitutional rights.
  It's in that spirit that I am reintroducing the EAGLES Act.
  By passing this Act, we can do more to assess threats, train 
communities and schools, and prevent violence.
  We cannot undo the tragedies of the past, but together we can do a 
better job to prevent future tragedies.
  I look forward to working with my colleagues on this important 
  I yield the floor.
      By Mr. CARDIN (for himself, Mr. Cornyn, and Mr. Jones):
  S. 532. A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide 
that an individual may remain eligible to participate in the teacher 
loan forgiveness program under title IV of such Act if the individual's 
period of consecutive years of employment as a full-time teacher is 
interrupted because the individual is the spouse of a member of the 
Armed Forces who is relocated during the school year pursuant to 
military orders for a permanent change of duty station, or the 
individual works in a school of the defense dependents' education 
system under the Defense Dependents' Education Act of 1978 due to such 
a relocation, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Health, 
Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I would like to bring the Senate's 
attention to the bipartisan Preserving Teacher Loan Forgiveness for 
Military Spouses Act of 2018, which I am introducing today with 
Senators Cornyn and Jones. This legislation eliminates a barrier for 
teachers in military families to earn federal student loan forgiveness 
for their years of public service.
  The Department of Education's Teacher Loan Forgiveness program 
rightfully incentivizes teachers to commit to students in our lowest 
income school districts in exchange for up to $17,500 in Federal 
student loan forgiveness. Teachers qualify for the Federal student loan 
forgiveness once they have taught full-time for at least five 
consecutive years at a low income school or educational service agency. 
Teachers who are forced to move in the middle of the school year to 
follow their spouse's relocation or reassignment to another 
installation in the United States or abroad lose their accrued 
eligibility for the program and must restart their five years of 
service under current law.
  Last Congress, a Maryland constituent brought to my attention the 
barriers her daughter faced when seeking Federal student loan 
forgiveness despite her commitment to public service. Her daughter, a 
teacher married to a member of the military, was in the middle of her 
fifth consecutive year teaching at one of Maryland's lower income 
schools. As any military spouse knows, relocation or reassignment 
orders can come at any time, upending the lives of the service member 
and their family. Rather than being able to complete a fifth year of 
teaching in a Maryland school, this family had to relocate with three 
months left in the school year. Despite this family's double commitment 
to service for our military and our schoolchildren, this military 
spouse missed the opportunity to have a portion of her Federal student 
loans forgiven. No military spouse

[[Page S1387]]

should be punished for following his or her spouse's relocation or 
  The legislation that Senators Cornyn, Jones and I have introduced is 
a common sense proposal to allow military spouses to earn the benefits 
that they have dutifully worked towards and continue to incentivize 
individuals to teach our hardest to educate children. Our legislation 
provides a waiver from the Department of Education's Teacher Loan 
Forgiveness program's five consecutive years of service requirement for 
qualified military spouses if their spouse is relocated during the 
school year pursuant to military orders from the Armed Forces. This 
waiver will allow individuals to remain eligible for the Teacher Loan 
Forgiveness program should they resume teaching full-time at a 
qualifying low-income school district within one year of their 
relocation. In addition, this legislation requires the Department of 
Education to provide a report to Congress every two years on the number 
of military spouses who remained eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness 
due to this legislation. In addition, it would allow military spouses 
that follow their service member overseas to accrue periods of service 
towards the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program if they teach in one of 
the Department of Defense Education Activities operated schools.
  I urge my colleagues to join in this effort to help families who are 
wholly committed to public service by supporting the Preserving Teacher 
Loan Forgiveness for Military Spouses Act. No family committed to 
service of our country should lose out on earned benefits due to a