Senate Vote for Gun Violence Reform is Complicated by Filibuster
WASHINGTON- The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Tuesday on common sense gun prevention after two mass shootings occurred in Atlanta and Boulder this past week.
Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., started the hearing with a moment of silence and a call to action.
“We are senate leaders, what are we doing? Other than reflecting and praying. It’s a good starting point, but shouldn’t be our end point,” Durbin stated.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed Tuesday morning to bring to the Senate floor legislation passed by the House that would require background checks for most gun sales and transfers. He said the Senate “must confront a devastating truth” after a lack of congressional action on the issue for almost three decades.
“This Senate will be different,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “The Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”
Schumer’s comments suggested a larger difficulty for Senate Democrats as they try to move forward on gun legislation and other policy priorities of the Biden White House.
With the filibuster in place, forcing a 60-vote threshold for most legislation, House-passed bills on issues like gun control and voting rights are effectively nonstarters unless Democrats secure significant GOP support.
Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso, Texas, a member of the House Judiciary Committee put the situation succinctly: “A majority of Americans support gun violence prevention, but we can’t get anything done in the Senate, because a majority doesn’t rule,” she said.
During the hearing itself, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recalled the Grassley-Cruz legislation which targeted violent criminals and safeguards.
The bill received substantial bipartisan support with 52 senators voting to reform gun sales and purchase rights, but like Democratic efforts at gun control, it too fell short of the 60-vote threshold.
Politics aside, much of the testimony at today’s hearing was highly personal. Gun violence survivors and medical doctors testified about the depth of the gun crisis in local communities.
Afterward, Schumer vowed to move forward with the gun legislation passed last week in the House.
“The legislative graveyard is over. H.R. 8 will be on the floor of the Senate and we will see where everybody stands. No more thoughts and prayers. A vote is what we need. A vote,” he said.
In The News
In The News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson, didn't realize the severity of the Jan. 6 insurrection until his wife called him. He was inside the Capitol, sitting in the upper gallery of the House, hoping for what he called a... Read More
An investigation by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International revealed thousands of people were targeted by spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group Technologies. Hundreds of human rights activists, government officials, business executives and journalists worldwide had their cellphones... Read More
Heat waves across the country this year have shattered temperature records, and climate scientists expect it to keep getting worse. Some policy options for dealing with the lethal and inequitable impact of heat have been recommended by researchers. In addition to increasing risk for numerous health... Read More
The U.S. and Mexico failed to resolve a dispute over trade rules for cars during a meeting last week, a development - or lack of one - that appears capable of severely straining relations between the two countries a year after the new USMCA trade pact... Read More
WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Friday gave the U.S. Federal Trade Commission until Aug. 19 to file an amended complaint in its antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the agency asked for a three-week... Read More
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has released the final list of 46 candidates who qualified for the upcoming gubernatorial recall election. The recall election seeking to remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will take place on Sept. 14, 2021. Among the candidates that qualified were nine... Read More