Fighting Back: “Let’s get something done for the people who we love and want to protect.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada asking that the Senate pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act that 90% of Americans want – a bill being blocked by Republicans.

(Nearly two years after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, the Route 91 massacre in Las Vegas, Nevada, and as Senate Democrats continue to keep the pressure on Republican Leader McConnell and President Trump to take action on House-passed universal background checks legislation, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic address.)

“Universal background checks are an essential first step toward ensuring we reduce the number of mass shootings in America, keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, and save lives.

“We know that it can’t stop every tragedy, but this is a common sense, bipartisan bill that can save lives and reduce mass shootings in our country.

“My home state of Nevada passed background checks this year after Nevadans voted for them in 2016.

“Congress can get it done as well. My friend, Senator Chris Murphy has introduced legislation that would close loopholes on background checks and save lives, and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed it almost 200 days ago. […]

“Yet, here in the Senate, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act hasn’t received a vote.

“Let’s actually come together and pass this bill in honor of all of the daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends we have lost to senseless gun violence.

“And let’s get something done for the people in our lives we would do anything to protect and we could not bear to lose.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Cortez Masto Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, I’m Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, and I’m a proud daughter of Las Vegas.

“My hometown and its people inspire me every day with their enterprising spirit and their commitment to helping each other.

“I witnessed that commitment in action nearly two years ago, on October 1st, when a gunman opened fire on concertgoers attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.

“My niece was at that festival. She came home that night. Too many others did not. 58 people were killed and hundreds more were injured.

“The Route 91 Massacre remains the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Sadly, it wasn’t the last. Dozens of communities and families have been torn apart since then in:

“Parkland and Pittsburgh,

“El Paso and Odessa,

“Gilroy and Dayton,

“And many more communities across this country.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. We can prevent other families from losing their loved ones to senseless gun violence.

“We can pass common sense legislation requiring background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous individuals.

“Americans agree. More than ninety percent of Americans say they want sellers to look closely at who exactly is trying to buy a gun. And it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on; we all want to keep our families safe.

“Universal background checks are an essential first step toward ensuring we reduce the number of mass shootings in America, keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, and save lives.

“We know that it can’t stop every tragedy, but this is a common sense, bipartisan bill that can save lives and reduce mass shootings in our country.

“My home state of Nevada passed background checks this year after Nevadans voted for them in 2016.

“Congress can get it done as well. My friend, Senator Chris Murphy has introduced legislation that would close loopholes on background checks and save lives, and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed it almost 200 days ago.

“Yet, here in the Senate, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act hasn’t received a vote.

“And there’s only one person holding it up: Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

“We can’t have this type of inaction by the Majority Leader – not when the stakes are so high. He keeps saying he’s waiting on the President.

“Well, my answer to that is when more than ninety percent of Americans support it – the people who elected us – we don’t need to wait for the President.

“Two years ago, I stood on the floor of the United States Senate after the Route 91 tragedy in my hometown. I told Nevadans that I would do all I could to fight to pass common sense gun safety legislation to ensure a tragedy like that never happened again. And two years later… I’m still fighting.

“As we approach the two year anniversary of the Route 91 Massacre, we can show those families touched by mass shootings that we’re willing to act. That we can offer them something more than thoughts and prayers.

“Let’s actually come together and pass this bill in honor of all of the daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends we have lost to senseless gun violence.

“And let’s get something done for the people in our lives we would do anything to protect and we could not bear to lose.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning.

Yesterday we gathered on the steps of the Capitol to hold a moment of silence to observe a National Day of Service and Remembrance on 9/11. Later that morning, we had in my Caucus, House Democratic Caucus, we had a presentation of a situation in Afghanistan, a country that we went into following 9/11, to see where we are and where we go from here. The longest war in the history of the United States; some disarray at the White House on this subject.

But 18 years after the attack, the terror attack on 9/11, we remember the heroism that we saw that day, and renew our solemn commitment to support our men and women whose sacrifice keeps America safe. Whether it’s our men and women in uniform, in the military service, or our first responders, we’ll never forget their valor, at that time and every day.

Sadly, here we are. The President’s decision to cancel $3.6 billion for military construction initiatives makes us less safe by undermining our national security and the quality and life and the morale of our troops. And it dishonors the Constitution of the United States as the President negates the Constitution’s most fundamental principle, the principle of checks and balances, the separation of powers and his assault on the Congress’s power of the purse. The decision is bad for security of our border, for the security of our nation and the well‑being of our children.

As you recall, the President said that Mexico would pay for the wall. Well, that’s not happening. Instead, look who’s paying. A prospective middle school, of $62 million in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, take that money, spend it on the wall. Child care development center at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, $13 million, spend it on the wall. Fire station at Tyndall Air Force Base, that was very much destroyed with Hurricane Michael, $17 million for the President’s wall.

Look at this, European deterrence initiative to combat Russian aggression: $771.5 million. Taking money to deter Russian aggression and spending it on the wall.

The list goes on and on. It’s appalling. Not only it’s appalling, it’s dangerous. It’s not right for our children. It dishonors the Constitution, it undermines our security. It takes investment, again, away from our children, and we will be fighting that again and again. It’s really – just when you think you’ve seen it all, the children will pay for the President’s wall.

This week, a coalition of education, labor and veterans organizations wrote to the President to express their ‘profound concern’ – that’s their two words – about this decision. They write, and I quote, ‘Our troops and their families deserve much better for their sacrifices. While these brave men and women stand at the ready to defend and protect our nation, they should not be distracted by any concerns that their children are being subjected to sub-optimal learning environments that could limit their opportunities.’

The President said Mexico will pay for his wall. Not military families. First of all, in my view, we shouldn’t even be having a wall, but this is some kind of an ego wall for the President, and he’d just make anybody pay the price for him to get his wall.

The Senate will vote in the coming weeks to terminate the emergency declaration that the President is using to steal military funding to pay for his wasteful wall. Once the Senate passes that resolution, the House will take it up.

On another subject of safety for our children, at the same time, Democrats are hard at work to keep the American people safe by action to end gun violence, the gun violence crisis. This is about commonsense legislation – passed the House in a bipartisan way in February. Many lives could have been saved if that law had become – that bill had become the law of the land.

One of the first acts in our Majority, in fact, was to pass the bipartisan background checks, H.R. 8, H.R. 8, House Resolution 8, so named because it was eight years from the time that Gabby Giffords, meeting with her constituents in a grocery store, was assaulted. People died. She survived. She’s an inspiration to us all. H.R. 8. And H.R. 1112, Mr. Clyburn’s legislation.

We’ve celebrated the drumbeat of the action. We are not stopping until the job is done, Leader McConnell. You have refused to join us in saving lives, but the beat will go on until the law is passed. Every day that the Republicans in the Senate refuse to take up our House‑passed bipartisan legislation, an estimated 100 people are killed in gun violence, a large number of them children, and including teenagers.

Then, we came back from our August District Work Period determined to ‘Own August’, proud of what we did in the first 200 days leading up to that District Work Period, to talk about our For the People agenda. For The People, we are going to lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and preserving the preexisting conditions benefit, A; B, lower health care costs, bigger paychecks by building infrastructure of America in a green way. And we hope to be able to do that with the President in a bipartisan way. We’re still waiting to hear how he would like to make that investment, but we will keep that going and – lower health care, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. I don’t have too much hope that they would join us in the cleaner government initiative, but we will work to protect our system from all enemies, foreign and domestic. As we protect our Constitution in that same way, we’ll protect our electoral system. So that goes on and on.

As you know, we are in conversations back and forth with the Administration on the U.S.‑Mexico‑Canada Agreement. It is – we are just waiting for language about enforceability. If you can’t enforce the provisions in any treaty, then you really are not protecting American workers. But I’m hopeful, I’ve always said we want to be on a path to yes. I supported NAFTA the first time around. Those who didn’t are even more eager to make it better now, but in order to be made better, it has to be improved greatly in terms of enforcement. But, I’m optimistic as we go forward that we will come to terms.

There’s nothing – some of you are urging us to put it on the Floor. There’s nothing to put on the Floor. We don’t have a bill. We don’t have an agreement yet. But we’re hopeful that we will have one, and when we do get that agreement, then we’ll get the letter for the enabling legislation from the Administration to go forward.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript). Here is Speaker Pelosi’s comment about the impeachment investigation:

Q: Madam Speaker, on the other topic of the day, impeachment, do you agree, do you concede now that an impeachment inquiry into President Trump is underway?

Speaker Pelosi. Do I concede now? Have you not paid attention to what we’ve been talking about? For months, we’ve been saying we’re doing three things: We’re legislating. Do you want me to go over our 200 days of legislation leading up to now and even what we did this week to protect our environment?

We are legislating, we are investigating, as six Committees have been doing for months – six Committees have been working for months.

And third, we are litigating. We are taking the work of the Committees into the courts. We won in two instances already. They have appealed. We’re waiting for those decisions, as we also wait for decisions for other litigation, based on what our investigations in the Congress have called for.

So, I stand by what we have been doing all along. I support what is happening in the Judiciary Committee, because that enables them to do their process of interrogation and their investigation, and I salute them for that work.

But I also salute them for what they did this week, earlier this week. They took up and marked up three bills to make America safer in terms of commonsense gun safety. So legislate, investigate, litigate. That’s the path we have been on, and that’s the path we continue to be on.

~

Pelosi Statement on Successful Mark-Up of Additional Gun Violence Prevention Legislation

September 11, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the House Judiciary Committee’s mark-up of additional legislation to prevent gun violence, which includes bills to ban high capacity ammunition magazines, help keep guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others, and prevent people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from acquiring firearms:

“For nearly 200 days, Senator McConnell has refused to take up House-passed, bipartisan, commonsense legislation to help end the gun violence epidemic in America. Every day of his obstruction, an estimated 100 Americans die from this senseless crisis.

“House Democrats are continuing to accelerate our drumbeat to end this epidemic, building on the progress of H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112: bipartisan legislation to expand background checks that we passed as one of the first acts of our Majority. We salute the leadership of Chairman Nadler and the Judiciary Committee in advancing additional, life-saving legislation to address the gun violence crisis. These critical, commonsense bills would save lives: taking steps to limit the lethality of the deadliest firearms, helping states and local law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others and blocking people convicted of hate crimes from purchasing firearms.

“House Democrats will fight on every front to force Senator McConnell to join us to pass our legislation and to save lives. No one’s political survival is more important than the survival of our children.”

~

  1 comment for “Fighting Back: “Let’s get something done for the people who we love and want to protect.”

  1. JanF
    September 14, 2019 at 7:29 am

    From Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s newsroom: Statement on 25th Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act

    September 13, 2019

    Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement to mark the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which President Bill Clinton signed into law on September 13, 1994:

    “For a quarter century, the Violence Against Women Act has stood as a landmark achievement in the fight to eradicate the scourge of sexual assault and domestic violence. Every woman has the right to live free from fear, intimidation and violence, and over the last 25 years, this transformative, bipartisan legislation has delivered extraordinary progress to achieve this critical mission.

    “VAWA is an essential force in uniting our communities and our country in the fight to protect American women, yet, one in three women in our country still suffer from sexual and domestic violence. This year, the new Democratic Majority acted decisively to overcome outrageous Republican inaction and passed a bipartisan, robust, long-term Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that strengthens and expands essential protections for immigrant, LGBTQ and Native American women. Among its many lifesaving provisions, this long-overdue legislation improves the services available for victims and survivors, empowers law enforcement to protect their communities, helps stop abusers and stalkers from obtaining firearms, expands housing and anti-discrimination protections, and toughens protections for Native American women.

    “Today, as we celebrate 25 years since first enacting this historic legislation, Senate Republicans continue to jeopardize the safety of American women by shamefully refusing to bring our VAWA reauthorization to the Floor for a vote. In honor of the countless victims, survivors and advocates who are bravely telling their stories and making their voices heard, Senator McConnell must end this life-threatening obstruction and allow a vote on the House-passed legislation, immediately. Congress has a solemn responsibility to protect the health and well-being of the American people, and House Democrats will continue to act boldly to keep every woman, in every community safe.”

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