Democrats Call On Mitch McConnell To Reconvene Senate For Gun Vote

The upper chamber adjourned last week for its annual August recess.

By Igor Bobic

Democrats on Sunday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to reconvene the upper chamber to vote on House legislation that would expand background checks for gun buyers in the wake of deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend.
“One awful event after another. Leader McConnell must call the Senate back for an emergency session to put the House-passed universal background checks legislation on the Senate floor for debate and a vote immediately,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Bernie Sanders (I-V.t.) similarly urged McConnell to bring the Senate back into session following the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, which took place within 24 hours of each other. At least 29 people died and scores more were injured in the two shootings.
The Senate adjourned last week for its annual August recess. No votes are scheduled until Sept. 9 and most lawmakers are meeting with constituents in their home states. Some also typically travel abroad during recess on congressional delegation visits to other nations.
One Republican senator indicated Sunday he would be willing to go back to Washington to discuss gun violence.
“I’d leave tonight, I’ll go tomorrow. It doesn’t matter to me, this is such an important issue and an issue that we sometimes only get part of the picture because of the mass shootings,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” referring to the 2015 Charleston church shooting in his state.
Earlier this year, the Democratic-controlled House passed a bill requiring background checks on all firearm sales in the country. But the measure has languished in the Republican-controlled Senate, with McConnell unwilling to bring it to the floor for a vote.
In 2013, the Senate voted on a similar bill that would have expanded background checks to all gun purchases. It failed to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold to advance, however.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the author of the measure alongside Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), on Sunday called on Congress to pass “bipartisan proposals such as my legislation with Senator Joe Manchin to expand background checks to all commercial firearm sales.”
“While no law will end mass shootings entirely, it’s time for Congress to act to help keep our communities safer,” Toomey added in a statement.
Other Republicans, such as Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, suggested the federal government has no good solution to stemming gun violence.
“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. Sadly, there are some issues, like homelessness and these shootings, where we simply don’t have all the answers,” Cornyn tweeted Sunday.

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Trump threatens to close southern border if Congress doesn’t fund wall

WASHINGTON (AP) — The partial government shutdown will almost certainly be handed off to a divided government to solve in the new year, as both parties traded blame Friday and President Donald Trump sought to raise the stakes in the weeklong impasse.  As agreement eludes Washington in the waning days of the Republican monopoly on power, it sets up the first big confrontation between Trump and newly empowered Democrats. Trump is sticking with his demand for money to build a border wall with Mexico, and Democrats, who take control of the House on Jan. 3, are refusing to give him what he wants.

Trump raised the stakes on Friday, reissuing threats to shut the U.S.-Mexico border to pressure Congress to fund the wall and to cease aid to three Central American countries from which many migrants have fled.

The president also signaled he was in no rush to seek a resolution, welcoming the fight as he heads toward his own bid for re-election in 2020. He tweeted Thursday evening that Democrats may be able to block him now, ‘‘but we have the issue, Border Security. 2020!’’

Continue reading “Trump threatens to close southern border if Congress doesn’t fund wall”

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Under the Fog of Kavanaugh, House Passes $3.8 Trillion More in Tax Cuts

Mitch McConnell: Senate Will ‘Plow Right Through’ Kavanaugh Confirmation
Kavanaugh is accused of sexual misconduct.
By Glenn FleishmanSeptember 28, 2018
With attention fixed on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new $3.1 trillion tax cut on Friday. The vote was 220 to 191, including three Democrats.  The down-to-the-wire 2017 tax act passed in late December contained a mix of permanent and temporary changes that had to result in a net increased cost that fell within a structural limit of $1.5 trillion that allowed the Senate to approve the bill with a simple majority.

The House’s new bill takes effect starting in 2025, and would add $600 billion to the national debt within the next decade, and then $3.2 trillion in the 10 years after that, according to Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center.

Despite the House vote, it is unlikely the Senate will take up the legislation. The first round of tax cuts landed with a thud, with even a leaked Republican National Committee poll—reported on by Bloomberg News—showing American voters thought it benefited “large corporations and rich Americans” by an overall 2-to-1 margin and the same margin among independent voters.

Without special rules in place, the Senate would vote under normal procedures, which can require 60 senators’ votes to pass a bill that is heavily opposed.

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