Meijer Opening Statement in Review of DHS’s Targeted Violence & Terrorism Grant Program Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), Ranking Member of the Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee, delivered the following opening statement in a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Reviewing DHS’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Program.”

Ranking Member Meijer’s Opening Statement (as prepared for delivery)

Chairman Correa, thank you for holding this important subcommittee hearing on the Department of Homeland Security’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program, and thank you to our witnesses for joining us today. I am looking forward to hearing testimony about your experiences with the program as grant recipients, and am particularly interested in learning about what you found most effective and how you think this program might be able to responsibly grow and benefit a larger number of communities in the future.

Over the years, the terrorism landscape has evolved. While many grants focusing on terrorism prevention were created as a result of the 9/11 attacks, the current threat landscape is filled with both international and domestic threats. We must evolve our approach to address these new and emerging threats and allocate federal dollars in the most effective manner possible.

I believe that we must do all that we can to protect our communities and equip them with the tools they need to combat and prevent targeted violence and terrorism – in whatever form it comes.

The TVTP Grant Program is one such tool that can help local communities build and strengthen their resiliency capabilities and prevent threats before they arise. Last April, I co-led a letter to the House Appropriations Committee calling on them to increase funding in FY22 for the Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (OTVTP), now operating as the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), and the TVTP Grant Program.

This letter highlighted the fact that in recent years, more Americans have been killed by domestic terrorism than by international terrorists and that the number of domestic terrorism investigations conducted by the FBI has doubled since 2017. While threats from Foreign Terrorist Organizations remain very real, these figures demonstrate that the landscape is changing, and so must our thinking.

Recently, our country has experienced increased rates of violence, ranging from heartbreaking mass shootings to an attempted assassination of a sitting Supreme Court Justice. We need to do more to combat violence and address its root causes, no matter the ideological motivation, to protect our democracy. Violence of any kind is unacceptable, and as elected leaders, it is our responsibility to find solutions that will promote and protect the safety of those we represent. The TVTP Grant Program has a lot of potential to enhance these important efforts.

At the same time, I want to make sure that this money is well spent. Simply spending more taxpayer dollars will not fix the problem. We must make sure that federal grant dollars are spent efficiently – with clear objectives, and measurable outcomes. This grant program must be transparent and accountable to the American people, and it must ensure that the civil liberties of all Americans are fully protected.

As lead Republican on the Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee, I remain committed to working with Chairman Correa to help strengthen the security of our local communities and to bolster and improve DHS programs designed to achieve this goal. It is imperative that we continue to advance bipartisan efforts to increase funding, accessibility, and resources to programs that enhance the safety and security of communities around the country.

Targeted violence and terrorism can occur anywhere, at any time. We must remain committed to empowering our local leaders to strengthening the resiliency in our communities and ensuring DHS has the proper funding to support this effort. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on the importance of the TVTP Grant Program, the ways in which they’ve used these grant awards to protect their communities, and any recommendations they have to improve the program going forward.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.

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