Sen. Tom Cotton Introduces Bill to Increase Penalties for Vandalizing Federal Property

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After pro-Palestinian protesters vandalized Lafayette Square near the White House over the weekend, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced a bill to increase penalties for property damage. The bill, named the Saving Treasured Artifacts Through Uniformed Enforcement Act, seeks to impose stricter punishments following the recent defacement of statues in the square, which led to no arrests by Washington, D.C., police.

“Any protester who defaces statues of America’s heroes must face the full extent of the law,” Cotton stated.

Cotton criticized President Joe Biden’s administration, accusing it of not taking action against the protesters. He urged the Senate to pass his legislation to address the issue.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the bill proposes a minimum five-year prison sentence and a fine of $1,000 or the value of the property damage, whichever is greater. It also aims to expand the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act to cover all federal property and monuments.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, the vandalism caused no permanent damage, but the National Park Service spent Sunday cleaning the area, as reported by the Washington Post. The damage included graffiti and harm to park infrastructure in Lafayette Park, according to park service spokeswoman Jasmine Shanti.

Lafayette Square has faced repeated vandalism in various protests, including the recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Jack Birle
Jack Birle
Jack Birle is a breaking news reporter. A 2022 graduate of Villanova University with majors in communication and political science, he has previous journalism experience with the Center Square and as a fellow with the National Journalism Center. He was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Southern California.

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