Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) has introduced the Support Peaceful Protest Act, a bill that would make people convicted of federal offenses as part of riots ineligible for virus-related federal unemployment funds. It would also mandate that those convicted of such riot offenses face fines to help cover the cost of federal policing of these riots.
Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana) originally introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Currently, thugs and insurrectionists savaging communities around the country are eligible for unemployment benefits, paid for by the very taxpayers whose property they’ve destroyed. The federal government should not be subsidizing looting and arson. Our bill will not only halt unemployment benefits for rioters but also fine them to help cover additional policing cost,” said Cotton.
Rep. Banks argued that, “many rioters have time to participate in violence because they are unemployed people receiving government benefits — including increased federal benefits for those who have lost their jobs amid the pandemic.”
I’m somewhat skeptical that the active rioters have lost their jobs. Quite a few of the white radicals seem to be teachers and grad students. And the BLM organizers are, in many cases, paid activists. Some are also academics.
But some of the more casual rioters may very well be getting CARES cash and, if nothing else, this would help serve as a deterrent.