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DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

For the first time, states and localities will spend at least $77 million of Department of Homeland Security grant money on combatting domestic violent extremism, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism has been on the rise in the U.S., spurred on by growing polarization and the mainstreaming of online conspiracy theories. In the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, Mayorkas has made fighting the problem a "National Priority Area."

What they're saying: "Today the most significant terrorist threat facing the nation comes from lone offenders and small groups of individuals who commit acts of violence motivated by domestic extremist ideological beliefs," Mayorkas said in a statement.

Between the lines: The move means that state and local governments that receive the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) or Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants will be required to spend at least 7.5% of the money received on combating domestic violent extremism.

  • Together, those programs provide more than $1 billion of assistance to state and local governments.

The big picture: In his inaugural address, two weeks after the Capitol attack, President Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism and vowed to defeat them.

  • Two days later, his administration rolled out a three-pronged interagency plan to assess and combat the threat posed by domestic violent extremism.
  • Biden's attorney general nominee Merrick Garland has pledged to make prosecuting the Jan. 6 insurrectionists his first priority, and said in his confirmation hearing that the U.S. is "facing a more dangerous period than we faced" after the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

Go deeper

Updated Mar 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden Cabinet tracker: Which nominees have been confirmed

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All of President Biden's Cabinet nominees have now been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: Biden now has known, trusted people around him, many from the Obama administration, to help implement his policies and turn away from the tumultuous Trump years.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.