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Hopes for Anti-terror Bill Dashed by Opposition Forces

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers opposed to a pending version of anti- terrorism legislation has dashed hopes that Congress would pass such a measure before the end of the year.

Republican leaders scrubbed plans to bring the measure up for a floor vote this week after nearly 100 House Republicans threatened to oppose the measure, citing concerns over civil liberties.

Senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee joined their Republican colleagues in opposing the measure.

The $2.1 billion package would expand the definition of terrorism, give federal authorities new investigative authority and allow for expedited provisions to deport aliens suspected to terrorist activity.

The Senate passed its version of the measure in June in a vote of 91-8.

Anti-terrorism legislation has been a centerpiece of the legislative agenda for several Jewish organizations since President Clinton proposed anti-terrorism legislation almost a year ago.

The measure gained momentum in April, after the Oklahoma City bombing.

But an unusual alliance of conservative and liberal lawmakers concerned about the potential for civil liberties violations have adamantly opposed the measure. Their opposition had led on effort to water down some of the provisions most cherished by the Jewish community.

The original measure would have banned fund raising on American soil by suspected terrorist groups.

In an effort to pass the measure before its summer recess, the Senate stripped that provision from the measure. The House version would not stop fund raising.

The House could take up the measure after the New Year’s recess if lawmakers can forge an agreement with the measure’s opponents.

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