Fighting Back: “It’s time to say #NeverAgain, and mean it.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois.

(Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Kelly calls for commonsense gun reform and highlights the voices across the country that are ushering in a chorus of change.)
blurb

“How many more dreams need to be shattered? How many families torn apart? How many mothers need to bury their children? Why do NRA dollars matter more than American lives?

“This weekend, that’s changing. A new generation has risen. Their voices, ushering in a chorus of change. They are offering action, not thoughts and prayers. They believe that children should go to school with thoughts of homework, baseball tryout, prom dates and pop quizzes – not guns and bullets. […]

“This weekend, we stand with you. We speak out with you and we march with you in Washington, DC and Chicago; in Las Vegas and Miami; in Portland and San Diego and everywhere in between.

“My name is Congresswoman Robin Kelly. It’s time to say #NeverAgain, and mean it.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congresswoman Robin Kelly Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Antonio Brown and 49 others shot in Orlando, and still the gun show loophole remains.

“Officer Charleston Hartfield and 57 others shot dead in Las Vegas, and still military-style assault weapons remain legal.

“650 people murdered in Chicago, last year, and still no vote on federal anti-trafficking legislation.

“3-year old Jere’Miah Pitt and 164 others were shot in Speaker Ryan’s district over the last four years, and still no votes on comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation.

“If only this Congress had the courage of Aaron Feis and others Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the courage to take action and save lives.

“What are Speaker Ryan and House Republicans waiting for? How many more lives will have to be taken?

“How many more dreams need to be shattered? How many families torn apart? How many mothers need to bury their children? Why do NRA dollars matter more than American lives?

“This weekend, that’s changing. A new generation has risen. Their voices, ushering in a chorus of change. They are offering action, not thoughts and prayers. They believe that children should go to school with thoughts of homework, baseball tryout, prom dates and pop quizzes – not guns and bullets.

“These young people know that nothing stops a bullet like an opportunity – that we need to create opportunities for young people to pick up pencils and job skills, not guns.

“As marchers descend on Washington this weekend fighting for common sense gun reforms, know that this is not a moment, it’s a movement.

“A movement that will bring necessary reforms like a background check on every gun sale. A movement that will put an end to weapons of war on our streets.

“Democrats stand united with you: enough is enough. Your safety, your life matters.

“None of us should live in fear that we or someone we love could be next – at a movie theatre, at a car wash or even a Congressional baseball practice.

“It’s time to put American families and your safety first. It’s time for common sense change that saves lives – we’ve already lost too many.

“There are already too many empty seats at the dinner table. Too many unachieved dream for us to stand silent.

“This weekend, we stand with you. We speak out with you and we march with you in Washington, DC and Chicago; in Las Vegas and Miami; in Portland and San Diego and everywhere in between.

“My name is Congresswoman Robin Kelly. It’s time to say #NeverAgain, and mean it.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Leader Nancy Pelosi did not hold a weekly news conference on Thursday but spoke to the press after the Omnibus spending bill was introduced.

Transcript: Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference on Omnibus Funding Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer held a press conference to discuss the omnibus funding package. Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much Mr. Leader. I have to say for one so new to the process of being at the table of the four principles you were there like a veteran, knew your subject matter, grounded in your values and strategic in your thinking and actions. So, thank you for your words and I think we’re a good team as we went forward.

The distinguished leader has clearly put forth many of the priorities that we’re very proud of. In a bill that’s one yard high, it’s one yard high. About half of it is the bill, quarter of it are earmarks, another quarter are report language.

It’s interesting to see from the standpoint of regular order why the Republicans thought that would be a good idea. Well, I thought they rushed through, posting it last night, taking it to rules, on the Floor today, not honoring the three-day rule. They didn’t want their Republican colleagues to see just exactly what was in the bill. Because this bill was a victory for investments in our future, supporting our middle class and doing so in a way that was producing good paying jobs.

The debate that we had on the Caps was a very successful one, where we said that an increase in defense had to be matched by an increase in domestic spending. We support our men and women in uniform to have what they need to protect their country and protect themselves at the same time. But in a domestic budget, one third of it is security, homeland security, Department of Defense, Veterans’ Affairs, anti-terrorism activities of the Justice Department.

So, it’s very important for us to get those increases because they were necessary priorities that could cannibalize other investments that are about the strength of our country in terms of the health, education and well-being of the American people. So, it was all about supporting the middle class, job creation, good paying jobs, A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future.

As I said, the Leader very clearly presented many of our priorities. I would just say in many cases, when you talk about the National Institutes of Health it’s about the biblical power to cure, whether it’s scientific opportunity to save lives or make people healthy, we have a moral responsibility to put our resources there.

But let’s also remember that all of the estimates for the National Institutes of Health is about scientists but it’s also about carpenters, plumbers, electricians and it’s jobs, jobs, jobs across the spectrum as we again invest in the good health of the American people.

And as you recall in the Caps debate, we had some priorities that were the basis of our asking for the increase in funding commensurate with our increase in defense funding. And they were about our veterans, they were about opioids, they were about the National Institutes for Health, about affordable child care for hard working families.

But there were some things that we lifted up, and then our appropriators – and I’m an appropriator, forged in that culture, forged in intelligence and appropriations. I know left to their own devises, Democrats and Republicans can work together on that Committee.

It’s the poison pills that rain from their leadership that we were very proud of our Members to fight off. I join the Leader in commending Senator Leahy and the Ranking Members, as well as all the Members on the Appropriations Committee, and in the House, Congresswoman Nita Lowey from New York. She took good care of New York.

Leader Schumer. Yes, she did.

Leader Pelosi. New York and our Ranking Members from across the country. Throughout the heartland of our country, as well as the other Members. They did their job and they staved off the poison pills and we had some other issues to deal with.

But I just want to focus on one thing because correctly so, the Leader mentioned what happened on border security. First, they asked for $25 billion for the wall, and that came down to $1.6 billion as you described. They asked for 12,000 new beds, that came down to no net gain in new beds. They asked for hundreds more –

Leader Schumer. 1,800, yeah.

Leader Pelosi. Of the deportation force. There’s some debate as to what that number is but hundreds and hundreds more deportation officers, they got none. They just got a 125 for legal and investigative – analysis support staff purposes. Hundreds and hundreds down to 125. And no defunding of sanctuary cities. So from the standpoint of concern that we have about America and how we protect our borders, respect our values, this was really very important.

A disappointment we had, is we couldn’t get the Speaker, even though he promised on more than one occasion including the night of the debate on the Caps and at a press conference around that time, he said, this was last month, ‘in order to shift our focus on to the next big priority which is a DACA solution,’ he said this in February. ‘We’ve got to get this Budget Resolution done.’ Which we did, the Caps. ‘And now I’ll say it once again and I’ll say it again we’ll bring a DACA solution to the Floor.’ That’s what he said and on the Floor he said something similar and Members believed him and voted for the Caps bill with the promise that he was going to bring something to the Floor.

We just haven’t seen it. But you’ll hear them say, ‘oh we offered this, we offered that.’ They did not. They did not.

We were there to protect our DREAMers in a way that gave them protection. They wanted us to protect them but not at the expense of, you know, have a little patch and a big hit on their families and all the rest by increasing interior enforcement.

So this is a disappointment. We still call upon the Speaker: honor your own pledge, honor your own words, give us a chance to vote on the DREAM Act, or just bring a Queen of the Hill where we can have bipartisan legislation put forth. The DREAM Act, it’s Hurd-Aguilar, it’s Ros-Lehtinen-Roybal-Allard, whatever else he wants to bring to the Floor, let’s get this done. Let’s not talk about it.

And then, the President, let me just close with him because he is just such a fascinating person – what did he say? I usually just say 45, but anyway, he’s saying, well let me just say his statement about the bill: ‘I got 1.6 to start a wall on the southern border, the rest will be forthcoming.’

Sign it, okay? ‘More importantly, I got $700 billion to rebuild our military, 750 [billion dollars] next year, most ever.’ Okay. Then he said, this is the eloquence of it all, let me share it with you. ‘Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increases and new equipment.’

So, ‘waste money on Dem giveaways’? Would he call funding our heroic veterans ‘Dem giveaways’? Affordable childcare for hardworking middle-class families? Life-saving medical research, which creates jobs? The integrity of America’s elections? Does he think fighting the opioids epidemic, which is alive and unfortunately unwell in every district in America – is that how the President would characterize that?

So, in any event, his partisanship has blinded him to the fact that we have come to bipartisan agreement on many of these issues and what also did he say? ‘We [Democrats] don’t like DACA, we were just pretending.’ Well, we are not pretending and we are not going away. We will get that done.

But, Members are not going to shut down government because the Speaker did not live up to his promise. To lead is to take risks. We want him to take a risk with his own Caucus. Bring a bill to the Floor. Respect the fact that your own Members on the Republican side want to do something about the DREAMers so I would say that I voted for the bill, almost with a little reluctance because of some of the promises made and promises un-kept.

But I think the advances it makes for the middle class, national security, the integrity of our elections, the health of our people, the job creation is so important. And especially to take advantage of this opportunity, at a time when they passed a tax bill that is not about opportunity, it’s only about increasing the deficit, increasing the national debt at the expense of the future. Thank you again, Mr. Leader.

Senator Schumer. Thank you. Ready for your questions.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Student activists are also registering voters at the March for Our Lives

Student activists across the country are ready to fight for solutions to gun violence during the March for Our Lives on Saturday, which was organized by students who survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. One of the ways students are preparing for the march is by making sure that marchers can also vote — or are at least ready to vote when the time comes.

~

Disruptive, adaptive, and fun: The teens behind March For Our Lives are cracking the protest code

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could have expected this Saturday’s upcoming March For Our Lives. When Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was visited upon by the same gun violence that had wrecked so many other lives, in so many different places, you wouldn’t have been thought a fool to imagine that these tragic events would eventually fade away into an apathetic haze of thoughts and prayers and shrugs. But something else happened: The tragedy birthed something genuinely new and unexpected in American politics — a national protest movement centered on gun violence, spearheaded by teenagers.

This time was different. And yet, in some important ways, it isn’t. What has started in Parkland bears a close kinship with many protest movements of recent vintage. The Women’s March is an obvious close cousin — and in fact, the youth offshoot of the Women’s March movement have lent the March For Our Lives their organizational support — but it’s not hard to discern echoes of other movements such as Black Lives Matter or Occupy.

To get some insight on how the ever-expanding Parkland protests fits within our recent protest traditions — and what lessons this weekend’s marchers might learn from those who came before them — we spoke to journalist Sarah Jaffe, whose book, Necessary Trouble: Americans In Revolt, undertakes a deep dive into the recent history of protest movements in America to find out what transforms “ordinary Americans into activists.”

~

  5 comments for “Fighting Back: “It’s time to say #NeverAgain, and mean it.”

  1. JanF
    March 24, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Washington DC, Saturday morning …

  2. JanF
    March 24, 2018 at 11:18 am

  3. bfitzinAR
    March 24, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    America is Great when Americans are Good – the Energy has been rising for years. Swirling around in eddys called Occupy and Women’s March and Black Lives Matter. Eddys seen but making little progress as they swirl in their inlets and bays. But the Energy keeps rising, unfocused in places, scattered focus in others, it rises. Then something happened, something that’s happened many, many, all too many, times before – a mass shooting that snapped everything into focus. Gave the Energy a path, gave the Energy Leaders, gave the Energy work to do and a way to do it. The Parkland kids hooked it up, plugged it in – what I’d hoped the Women’s March would do March for Our Lives will do. Registering & voting en masse on a non-partisan issue harnessing the eddying Energy into a Surge of Decency.

  4. March 27, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Thanks for the post, Jan. This wave of energy and determination is so encouraging!

    I just wish it hadn’t taken another massacre to bring it about.

    • JanF
      March 27, 2018 at 6:52 am

      Gun massacres have never been very good at bringing change – what this massacre did was energize a group of determined young people who refuse to be cowed by the NRA and aren’t discouraged that past massacres were not enough.

      The tell for this will be in November. I saw a list of 25 Republicans – NRA A voters in R+3 districts – who will be vulnerable if gun safety activists get out and vote. Eric Holder said “We’ve marched, now let’s vote”.

Comments are closed.