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A Bill in Congress That Carries a 15-Year Prison Sentence For Masked Antifa Protesters? It Probably Won’t Get A Vote, Let Alone Pass

Don't expect to see arrests of bandana-wearing Antifa any time soon.

A Republican congressman from New York has introduced a bill that would dole out 15-year prison sentences to antifascist protesters for wearing masks.

But don't expect to see arrests of bandana-wearing Rose City Antifa activists any time soon.

The month-old bill, which would impose a 15-year prison sentence on any masked protester who "injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person," got some media attention this week after alt-right social-media personality Mike Cernovich tweeted encouraging his followers to call their representatives about the legislation.

That sparked lots of outrage and viral posts. But the bill itself appears to be going nowhere.

Known as the "Unmasking Antifa Act," the bill has been stuck since it was introduced by a Republican representative from New York. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, but has not yet been added to the committee's website nor has it been scheduled for a hearing.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Earl Blumenauer's office says the bill is such a low priority in Congress, she wasn't aware it existed.

It is unlikely the bill will make it to the House floor for a vote before lawmakers go on summer vacation. Congress is about to go on an extended hiatus for most of August: The House only has eight more session days before summer break. They will return in September, when lawmakers will be engaged in contentious battles over spending priorities.

If the bill did get a vote in the House and passed, it would then be referred to the Senate.

Despite the bill's lack of movement through the U.S. House so far, alt-right rabble-rousers have been rallying around the legislation. Infowars contributors Alex Jones and David Knight have joined Cernovich in trumpeting the proposed law and its stiff penalties that would target antifascist protesters, who often cover their faces, while ignoring unmasked far-right organizers who also frequently engage in street fights.

Portland has been an epicenter of these battles.

In nearly a dozen Portland protests, a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer and its leader, U.S. Senate candidate Joey Gibson, have cultivated a violent rivalry with local antifascists, who try to run the right-wingers out of town. Patriot Prayer appears to relish and seek out these clashes as a test of strength.

This month, WW asked observers if law enforcement could quash the events. Short answer? No.

"The question is, how much is the city going to tolerate this?" says Randall Blazak, who studies white supremacy. "I have to think the city's attorney is measuring out what are the odds of a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds … We're probably just stuck with it until they burn each other out."