Nancy Pelosi urges Trump to call Senate to session
WASHINGTON – Days after back-to-back mass shootings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging President Donald Trump to call the Senate back to session to vote on several House gun control bills that passed earlier this year.
In a letter sent Thursday to the president, Pelosi said that Congress has “an opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to pass gun violence prevention background checks.” However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring the Senate into a special session.
“Today, as Speaker of the House, I am writing in good faith to request that you call the United States Senate back into session immediately under your powers in Article II Section 3 of the Constitution to consider House-passed bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation,” she wrote.
Both chambers of Congress are on a recess right now.
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At least 22 people have died as a result of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas on Saturday. Authorities have linked the alleged shooter to a manifesto that had anti-immigrant and anti-Latino ideologies.
Less than 24 hours later, a mass shooting happened in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people died as a result.
Over the weekend, 59 people were shot in Chicago, including seven fatally in mostly poor, black neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides.
Trump on Wednesday said he is considering tougher background checks for gun buyers. Earlier in the week, he also advocated for lawmakers to pass “red flag” laws as a result of the mass shooting.
“I’m looking to do background checks,” Trump said Wednesday. “I think background checks are important.”
McConnell on Monday said he spoke with the chairman of three committees – Judiciary; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions — to discuss potential bipartisan solutions “to help protect our communities without infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights.”
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McConnell has been criticized by a number of Democratic congressional leaders for refusing to take up the background check legislation and have called on to bring senator back to Washington to vote on the legislation.
However, McConnell has repeatedly said he will not bring back a special session to vote on the House bills.
The House earlier this year passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which expands existing background checks law to include guns sold at gun shows, online and through person-to-person sales. The Enhanced Background Checks Act was also passed.
Pelosi in her letter quoted the preamble to the constitution that says the United States was formed to “insure domestic Tranquility.”
“The terrorism of white supremacy and gun violence is an assault on that tranquility, and indeed on the very character of America,” she wrote.
“This extraordinary moment in our history requires all of us to take extraordinary action to save lives,” Pelosi concluded.
Contributing: Grace Hauck, Aamer Madhani, John Kelly, Ledyard King, Michael Collins, Jason Lalljee, Sarah Elbeshbishi, David Jackson
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