The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
(Sen. Dianne Feinstein Delivers the Weekly Democratic Address)
“On December 14, 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, with an AR-15, and murdered 20 children – ages six and seven, beautiful children – and six young staffers. Five years later, a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with another AR-15, and murdered 14 children and three staff. Between just these two shootings, Congress did precisely nothing to remove weapons of war from our streets. Nothing to tighten background checks. Nothing to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “There’s so much we can do. We just need the willpower and intestinal fortitude to take on the NRA and get something done for the safety of the men, women, and particularly the children in our schools of this country.”
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
No transcript of the address is available at this time. Sen. Feinstein also spoke at a Senate hearing this past week and her office provided this press release of the event:
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today delivered remarks before the committee on the need to act on gun reform legislation:
An excerpt from Feinstein’s remarks follows, and video is available here:
“The New York Times reported several months ago that Americans, while we make up about 4.4 percent of the global population, we own 42 percent of the world’s guns. Four percent of us own 42 percent of the world’s guns.
“A University of Alabama Professor, Adam Lankford, found in 2015 that from 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American.
“Thirty-one percent of mass shootings were carried out worldwide by Americans. That’s stunning to me.
“America’s gun homicide rate was 33 per million people in 2009, far exceeding the average among developed countries.
“These statistics show exactly that our country is the leading perpetrator of gun deaths.
“So I hope that we can finally come together to work on gun violence reforms that will make a difference, today and in the future.”
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Leader Pelosi: Good morning, everyone.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege, the sad privilege, to meet with some of the inspiring students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. As you know, they have been in Washington, D.C. speaking to students their own ages, in high school, and conveying their determination to Members of Congress.
It was interesting to hear how determined they are to make change and to understand that some of it will have to unfold. But they want meaningful change. We have all been moved by their heartbreaking eloquence. They were insisting on action to prevent gun violence.
The American people overwhelming agree with them: 97 percent of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buys, including almost the same percentage among gun owners. There’s a commonsense, bipartisan path forward.
Yesterday, we were encouraged by what President Trump had to say. Our Members who attended the meeting, joined with [Congressman] Mike Thompson putting out a statement last night, that would be Mike Thompson of California, who is the chair of our [Gun Violence Prevention Task Force], joined by [Congresswoman] Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut, who had Newtown in her district, [Congresswoman] Stephanie Murphy, close to Pulse in the Orlando area, and of course [Congressman] Ted Deutch, most affected most recently.
And their report was that – what they heard the President say, and some of you watched it all, we heard the President agree that we should fix NICS and re-examine the Dickey amendment so that CDC [Centers for Disease Control] can research the public health crisis. That actually is the bill of [Congresswoman] Stephanie Murphy. Hopefully that will be incorporated in whatever we do to go forward.
The President agreed that we need to ban bump stocks. He thinks he can do it by executive order. I don’t think so. I think it needs to be done legislatively. But we agree that they should be banned.[The President] embraced the idea of gun violence restraining orders, which empower law enforcement to intervene when someone is a threat to themselves or to others. This, again, common sense.
The President stated unequivocally also that we should drop concealed carry reciprocity from the Fix NICS bill, and he made a commitment to take action on comprehensive background checks.
So once again the President has had a public meeting with Members of Congress, the three that I mentioned from the House directly affected by tragic events in their own districts or in their own areas. And we hope that we can proceed in a bipartisan way to get the most effective package forward.
There are other issues like well, I won’t get into the other issues. Just go on what we have the most agreement now.
But, unfortunately, in the Trump budget it proposed for NICS funding, his administration, they have done two things. In previous actions, they have tried to take names off the NICS list, and in the budget, they reduce the funding for NICS. But I think now with more awareness on the President’s part about what NICS is about, we’ll see better attention to that.
The other I was going to bring up was the assault weapon ban, which has overwhelming public support as well, not as high as the background checks, but overwhelming public support. That might take longer. We need to have the best package we can get done now that is good enough with comprehensive background checks and the other items that I mentioned.
This is a tipping point, a tipping point in our country. And I am really very proud of the work that Mike Thompson has done as chairman of our Task Force. He was with us 2 weeks ago at this venue. Now, he announced yesterday but put out [today] that we had reached 200 bipartisan cosponsors for the Thompson-King [bill] – that would be [Congressman] Peter King of New York – a Republican – legislation to strengthen and improve the background system.
House Democrats also filed the discharge petition, perhaps you saw that of the Thompson-King background check bill, which has a high number of signatures, as well as the Background Check Completion Act, closing the loophole that allows someone like the Charleston shooter to purchase a gun even though the FBI had not completed his background check.
I spent time on this because there’s very specific legislation that would be very helpful to save lives. And we have an opportunity, there’s public support for it. The children are so eloquent, the young people are so eloquent about this. And they asked the question, ‘Why can’t we do this?’
I know if the comprehensive bill came to the floor on background checks it would win. So we’re just saying to the Speaker, ‘Give us a vote, just give us a vote.’
Again, all of this has bipartisan support and that is really important.
People ask me all the time, ‘What are the three most important issues facing the Congress?’ I always say the same thing: ‘Our children. Our children. Our children.’ Their health, their education, the economic security of their families, a clean, safe environment in which they can thrive and world peace in which they can reach their fulfillment. Just all about the future.
When kids come here, I say, you see all these monuments to our Founders and tributes to the past, and it’s important that we are grateful for that contribution and recognize it as our value system. But part of that value system is that everything we do is about the future.
And so this issue, this gun safety issue, about the safety of our children, looms large, a clean, safe environment in which they can thrive.
Another issue that affects the children, of course, are our Dreamers. Every day more Dreamers are losing their DACA protections. More than 22,000. When the White House or some others say, ‘Oh, there is no need to do anything’ – no, 22,000 [have lost], 120, say, a day lose their protections, that is just the protection to go to school, to drive, to work, etcetera.
The House Republicans still have not scheduled a vote to protect the Dreamers. Again, just give us a vote. Give us a vote. We know it would pass in a bipartisan way. And I thank our Republican Members who have been so courageous in coming forward.
When we protect the Dreamers, it’s a wonderful thing. And they are so great and they inspire us so much. But it’s not just about them, it’s about the highest ideals of America. Their patriotism, their courage, their optimism are an inspiration that stirs the conscience of our entire Nation. I am so proud of them and will continue to fight in a bipartisan way for action for these extraordinary people.
March 5 is the date the President, when he announced the rescission – when he announced that he was going to rescind President Obama’s executive orders on DACA and their families, the National Catholic Conference of Bishops called that decision reprehensible. That’s pretty strong language for the Catholic bishops to use on a Republican President, but it was reprehensible.
So in any event, we continue to try to make the case, in case they don’t know what the protections are that are being lost, the fright that they are instilling in the hearts of so many people, and how emblematic this is for the whole issue of comprehensive immigration writ large.
And, of course, I’ll just close with talking about the GOP Tax Scam. Every day that goes by we see more evidence that it is exactly that, a tax scam. We continue to put out the truth on the tax scam’s massive giveaways to corporations and the wealthy and its consequences for workers, seniors and families.
You know 83 percent of the benefits goes to the top 1 percent. Every day – a trillion and a half dollars in tax cuts, plus interest, taking us to over $2 trillion in debt, to give corporations a trillion, a nearly trillion and a half dollar tax [rate] cut. Every day, we see more corporations announcing stock buybacks to enrich their executives and investors instead of increasing the wages on an ongoing basis of workers.
Morgan Stanley analysts estimated that 43 percent of corporate tax savings would go to buybacks and dividends and nearly 19 percent would help pay for mergers and acquisitions, taking us up to almost two thirds of the whole tax package. Just 13 percent would go to bonuses and raises.
Today, The Wall Street Journal found that more than $200 billion in corporate buybacks were just announced in the past 3 months – over $200 billion in buybacks. And once the tax scam is fully phased in, 86 million middle class will pay higher taxes while the wealthiest 1 percent, again, get 83 percent of the tax cut.
The tax scam will never pay for itself. That’s really pathetic that they would even put that out there. As the Trump budget shows, after adding $2 trillion to the debt Republicans are now saying, ‘Oh, my gosh, that can’t pay for itself. We’ve got to pay for it someplace else.’
So let’s take $2 trillion out of Medicare [and Medicaid] – $500 billion out of Medicare, one and a half – excuse me, trillion, half a trillion dollars out of Medicare, a trillion and a half out of Medicaid.
And then, of course, the President’s budget also makes cuts in food stamps, education, HUD – Housing and Urban Development – other issues that support, help us meet the needs of the American people.
So when they represent that it’s going to pay for itself, as I have told you before, Bruce Bartlett among others have said, ‘It’s not true, it’s nonsense, it’s BS.’ That’s what he said, but he said the whole words.
People say to us, “What would you do?” So we’d have bipartisanship, as we have always had on any long term tax revision. Democrats want real bipartisan tax reform that puts the middle class first. We have A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, A Better Future for the American people.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
Republicans repeatedly promised the American people that the GOP Tax Scam’s massive tax breaks for corporations were about raising wages and creating jobs – not about enriching CEOs, corporate shareholders and GOP donors.
Guess what really happened? Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the past three months, stock buybacks by corporations that enrich their executives and investors have exceeded $200 billion.
Morgan Stanley analysts estimated that 43 percent of corporate tax savings would go to buybacks and dividends and nearly 19 percent would help pay for mergers and acquisitions. Just 17 percent would be used for capital investment, and even a smaller share, 13 percent, would go toward bonuses and raises.
Even worse, some corporations have pocketed the money and laid off hundreds of workers, including Wal-Mart, Carrier, Pfizer and AT&T.
Despite House Republicans’ efforts to contort the facts, newly uncovered internal Republican polling reveals Americans recognize exactly how little the #GOPTaxScam is giving to working families compared to the massive windfall for corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent.
Washington Post: Nearly half of Americans agree with Nancy Pelosi’s ‘crumbs’ comment, according to a poll by a pro-Trump group
“But a new poll from a group supportive of President Trump finds nearly half of Americans agree with Pelosi’s comments despite weeks of relentless criticism from GOP leaders.”
“The poll was conducted by America First Policies, a pro-Trump nonprofit group established shortly after the president’s inauguration last year. A report published Thursday by CNBC details how the group, officially classified as a “social welfare organization,” is conducting extensive polling that is usually conducted by major party committees on behalf of an incumbent president.”
“The poll found that 49 percent of respondents totally agreed with her statement, while 43 percent disagreed.”
“The poll suggests that the attack on Pelosi, now dominating Republican talking points and ads, may not be resonating.”
More at the link.