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The House Appropriations Committee took an important step to restoring free speech in America, but today’s efforts are just the beginning.

Today, the House Appropriations Committee voted to zero out the funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s nefarious “Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention” (TVTP) grant program from the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill 2024

“Talk is cheap. Hearings without action are meaningless. But today's action shows that the House is more serious than ever before to restore freedom and take back our country from the radicals who hate what America stands for,” said MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider. “Defunding DHS's censorship scheme is the start of a broader effort to respect the First Amendment again.”

Chairman Dave Joyce (R-OH) said after the bill passed through committee:

“Our job as appropriators is to fund programs with a proven track record of effectiveness to protect Americans, not waste taxpayer money on programs with unclear metrics that serve to further divide Americans along ideological lines. The bill we passed through committee includes critical investments in DHS programs that defend against terrorism and prevent violence in our communities without infringing on the rights of Americans.”

The next battle will be waged on the floor of the House, where its leadership will then decide when to place the bill on the calendar for consideration, which could mean it gets combined with other appropriations bills. Later, the Senate will follow a similar pattern. 

Last month, MRC Free Speech America released a groundbreaking report providing definitive proof that the Department of Homeland Security had weaponized its $40 million taxpayer-funded anti-terrorism grant program in an effort to destroy conservatives, Christians, and the Republican Party. Instead of focusing on preventing actual violence and terrorism, the program is now being used to specifically target the entire spectrum of the political right and Christians through “media literacy and online critical thinking initiatives” and other so-called training seminars as part of a coordinated effort to make America into a one-party system.

MRC President Brent Bozell and Schneider have been working closely with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and with the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to delve deeper into the findings presented in our report.  

Following publication of the major report, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) called for answers from the DHS. Biggs sent a letter to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, stating in part, 

“Under your leadership, the Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly targeted conservative Americans for lawfully expressing their First Amendment rights. The Constitution prohibits the federal government from suppressing the free speech of Americans, by any means, including the use of third parties to engage in unconstitutional attacks on free speech. But this unlawful federal speech regulatory regime continues to be the norm under the Biden administration. …

“The most recent example of this trend targeting conservatives, uncovered by the Media Research Center (MRC), describes a DHS grant program designed to address Americans “being targeted for recruitment by al-Qa’ida” by preventing “all forms of terrorism and targeted violence.” Instead, your DHS has reimagined this program to prioritize combatting domestic radicalization and has awarded federal grants to organizations that view conservative beliefs as radicalization in need of suppression. ...

"DHS should under no circumstances award grants relating to combatting domestic radicalization to organizations and municipalities that lack the ability to discern between speech and legitimate political decisions they disagree with and domestic terrorism."

MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Assistant Editor Luis Cornelio and MRC Legal Fellow Tim Kilcullen contributed to this report.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and an equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.