Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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McGovern Blasts House GOP For Toothless NRA-Backed Gun Bill

Jul 5, 2016
Press Release
Following House Democrats’ Nearly 26-Hour Sit-In, McGovern Continues Call for Republicans to Act on Bipartisan Gun Legislation

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) led today’s floor debate for House Democrats calling for action on real legislation to address gun violence. This came less than two weeks after Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans abruptly adjourned the House to avoid the debate on gun legislation that Congressman McGovern and House Democrats were calling for with a nearly 26 hour sit-in on the House floor. Click here for video of today’s speech.

Today, Congressman McGovern continued the push for action and called out House Republicans for pushing a bill written by the NRA instead of the bipartisan legislation the American people clearly support.

“The American people overwhelmingly support the No Fly, No Buy bill and universal background checks. And they’re not going to fall for the theatrics my Republican friends are now engaged in this week, which is to bring up an NRA-written bill which they’re going to say is No Fly, No Buy. But what they’re not going to tell you is that all the loopholes still exist.

“It doesn’t matter what this bill purports to do, you can still be on the terrorist watch list and go online to buy a gun. You can still be on the terrorist watch list and not be able to fly, and still be able to go to a gun show and buy a gun. It’s pathetic that the loopholes in our background checks continue to be unaddressed.

“We are not going away. This issue is too important. We are not going to be silent. We are going to continue to use every means available to us to raise our voices and to demand that the leadership of this House respect not the wishes of the Democratic minority, but respect the wishes of the vast majority of the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Click here for video of today’s speech.

Text of Today’s Speech by Congressman McGovern:

“I want to thank the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Sessions, for the customary 30 minutes and I really want to thank him because after what happened two weeks ago when we in the minority were denied any debate time on the rule or the underlying bill, I know that being given the automatic 30 minutes is no longer something that we should assume.

“We’re doing three rules today that would provide for the consideration of legislation on a separation of powers bill, a health savings account bill, and a financial services bill. All three bills, I want my colleagues to know, are going nowhere. There are statements of Administration policy saying that the Administration would veto them.

“Some of these bills are so bad I’m not even sure the Senate would consider them. They’re either press releases that were written in the Republican congressional campaign committee or they are bills that are so loaded up with extraneous materials and riders on all kinds of subjects that have nothing to do with the underlying legislation that, again, we’re just sitting here, debating bills that have no future, that are going nowhere. We’re wasting the time of our colleagues, we’re wasting taxpayer money.

“What we should be debating here today is legislation that would provide for comprehensive background checks on anyone who wants to buy a gun. And also legislation that says if you are on an FBI terrorist watch list and cannot fly on an airplane, then you should not be able to go into a gun store and buy a weapon of war, or buy any gun for that matter. Those are the two pieces of legislation that we tried two weeks ago to get the Speaker of the House to give us a debate and vote on. And we still demand consideration of these two very basic, commonsense pieces of legislation that I believe will save lives in this country. And quite frankly, that’s what we should be concerned with. How we better protect our constituents. How we better protect the American people.

“The issue of gun violence is something that Democrats and Republicans alike care about. In fact, the legislation we want to bring to the floor was offered by a Republican member, the distinguished member from New York, Peter King. He’s the prime author of both these pieces of legislation. This problem is something that worries the American people, trouble the American people, but doesn’t seem to trouble the people in charge of this House.

“Listen to this statistic from PolitiFact: ‘So many people die annually from gunfire in the United States that the death toll between 1968 and 2011 eclipses all wars ever fought by the country. There were about 1.4 million firearm deaths in that period compared to 1.2 million U.S. deaths in every conflict from the War of Independence to the war in Iraq.’

“Two weeks ago, many of us came to this floor and joined with our colleague John Lewis and Katherine Clark, John Larson, Mike Thompson, and so many others in a protest, a sit-in. And the reason why we did that is because the frustration level on this side of the aisle is boiling over.

“This is supposed to be a deliberative body where important issues get debated and voted on. And instead, this has become a place where trivial issues get debated passionately and important ones not at all.

“In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy in Orlando where 49 people were killed, all we could do in this House was have a moment of silence. That was it. So that’s what that protest was all about. That’s what that protest was all about. We had exhausted every other way to try to get this legislation to the floor. And every time we tried to go through regular order we’re blocked, we’re blocked, we’re blocked. Enough.

“The American people overwhelmingly support the No Fly, No Buy bill and universal background checks. And they’re not going to fall for the theatrics my Republican friends are now engaged in this week, which is to bring up an NRA-written bill which they’re going to say is No Fly, No Buy. But what they’re not going to tell you is that all the loopholes still exist.

“It doesn’t matter what this bill purports to do, you can still be on the terrorist watch list and go online to buy a gun. You can still be on the terrorist watch list and not be able to fly, and still be able to go to a gun show and buy a gun. It’s pathetic that the loopholes in our background checks continue to be unaddressed.

“All we’re trying to do is have our moment where we can debate this issue which, again, is a bipartisan issue. It’s not a partisan issue. The two pieces of legislation that we are trying to bring to the floor are offered by a Republican member.

“So we are not going away. This issue is too important. We are not going to be silent. We are going to continue to use every means available to us to raise our voices and to demand that the leadership of this House respect not the wishes of the Democratic minority, but respect the wishes of the vast majority of the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

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