Posted: 10:05 pm Monday, June 13th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton exchanged barbs over the proper political reaction to the weekend terrorist attack on a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, lawmakers in the Congress also mixed it up as the U.S. House returned to work on Monday, as Democrats in Congress joined President Obama in demanding votes on a variety of gun control plans.
On the House floor, lawmakers observed a moment of silence for the victims in Orlando – then Democrats immediately began yelling at House Speaker Paul Ryan, demanding action on gun control measures.
The tradition is to send “thoughts and prayers” first, then perhaps demand policy change later. I’m done with that.
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 13, 2016
Democrats, like Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts argue that by doing nothing on guns, the Congress is simply paving the way for more gun violence.
“A moment of silent prayer – and then, what?” said Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), as Democrats called for votes on expanded background checks on gun sales, a new ban on assault weapons and more.
“Perfectly emblematic of Congressional gross negligence,” grumbled Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) on Twitter, as he joined other Democrats in arguing that action should have been taken long ago on guns.
The frustration boiled over on to the House floor on Monday.
House Dems now chanting "Where's the bill?" and "Show some respect!" after moment of silence for Orlando shooting
— Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) June 13, 2016
Over in the Senate, there was no disruption on the floor, but Democrats there were also pressing for action – and votes – on gun legislation.
Democrats forced a vote last year on the matter – but since the Orlando shooter was not on a terrorist watch list when he bought his firearms in the last week, this measure would not have stopped him.
The hard truth for Democrats and President Obama though is this – those who push for limits on guns are outnumbered in the Congress, and have been for a number of years.
Even in the first two years of his administration – when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate – there was a working majority in favor of gun rights.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted to reporters on Monday that the inaction on guns has left Mr. Obama frustrated.
“There are certain common-sense things that Congress could do that would make it harder for any individual to get their hands on a weapon of war,” Earnest said at the daily briefing.
“And the President has been quite frustrated — and, in some cases, even angry — about congressional inaction on common-sense steps that could be taken that would make our community safer, that would not undermine the basic constitutional rights to law-abiding Americans,” Earnest added.
Judging from the current makeup of Congress, that source of frustration seems unlikely to change in Mr. Obama’s final months in office.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.