MURPHY: LIVES ARE BEING LOST EVERY SINGLE DAY THAT MITCH MCCONNELL PLEDGES ALLEGIANCE TO THE NRA

Transcript from Murphy, Blumenthal Press Call on Mitch McConnell’s Refusal to Allow a Vote on Universal Background Checks Legislation

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Tuesday held a press call to talk about Mitch McConnell’s refusal to debate and vote on legislation that would expand background checks and save lives. This week marks exactly one year since the U.S. House of Representatives passed universal background checks legislation (H.R.8).

On Mitch McConnell’s refusal to bring up H.R.8 for a debate and vote, Murphy said: “Mitch McConnell has spent the last year denying the Senate a chance to have a debate and a vote on H.R.8. Lives are being lost every single day that Senator McConnell pledges allegiance to the NRA, instead of listening to 90% of Americans who want H.R.8 to pass.”

Murphy also announced his plans next week to call for unanimous consent to pass H.R.8: “I will be offering a motion on the floor, likely next week, to bring HR8 up for an immediate vote. I suspect that Senator McConnell or another Republican will object, but we are not going to stop in our efforts to get this common sense gun safety legislation passed.”

On latest discussions with the White House to expand background checks, Murphy said: “In the last few weeks, I've been in touch with the White House. I have restated my interest in picking back up those negotiations. I have not gotten a green light from the White House, but I haven't gotten a red light yet either. I remain very skeptical that those negotiations will begin again. But I got phone calls from my Republican Senate colleagues last summer and fall telling me that they were ready to vote for a background checks bill, but that they wanted the president to sign off on it first.“

Over 90% of Americans support comprehensive background checks and research indicates that nearly a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check. In January 2019, Murphy led 40 Senators in introducing the Background Check Expansion Act to expand background checks to all gun sales.

A full transcript of Murphy’s remark can be found below:

"Thanks everyone for being on this quick call. Senator Blumenthal will make a few remarks after my brief remarks.

"But we wanted to convene a call today because this Thursday marks the one year anniversary since the House passage of H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks a Bill. 

"This is a bill that will save lives; it is a bill that has bipartisan support; it's a bill that's supported by 90% of Americans.

"And it is simply unacceptable that Mitch McConnell has spent the last year denying the Senate a chance to have a debate and a vote on H.R.8. Lives are being lost every single day that Senator McConnell pledges allegiance to the NRA, instead of listening to 90% of Americans who want H.R.8 to pass.

"And so we are going to be on the floor with our colleagues over the course of the next week demanding that Senator McConnell bring this up for a vote. I will be offering a motion on the floor, likely next week, to bring H.R.8 up for an immediate vote. I suspect that Senator McConnell or another Republican will object, but we are not going to stop in our efforts to get this common sense gun safety legislation passed. 

"Senator McConnell, I think, is very afraid of putting his members in a position where they have to choose between the 90% of their constituents who want H.R.8 passed and the NRA. I think he knows that many of his senators who are up for election in 2020 can't win if they vote with the gun lobby against 90% of their constituents. At the same time, Mitch McConnell doesn't want to abandon the gun lobby. And so, he's rightfully worried that this bill would get 60 votes.

“As many of you know, last summer, both Senator Blumenthal and I were involved in negotiations with the White House—Senator Blumenthal on a risk protection order bill, I was involved in direct discussions on a universal background checks bill. We got close last summer. We had language that we were negotiating.

"Unfortunately, the NRA came out in opposition to that legislation and that was the last we heard in terms of meaningful negotiations.   

"In the last few weeks, I've been in touch with the White House. I have restated my interest in picking back up those negotiations. I have not gotten a green light from the White House, but I haven't gotten a red light yet either.

“I remain very skeptical that those negotiations will begin again. But I got phone calls from my Republican Senate colleagues last summer and fall telling me that they were ready to vote for a background checks bill, but that they wanted the president to sign off on it first.    

"I'm not sure that's going to happen before the election in the fall, but it does show that we're making a lot of progress here.    

"So that's the purpose of the call—just to let folks know we're going to be organizing speeches, putting a motion on the floor, using whatever mechanisms we have to increase pressure on Senator McConnell—while being open to negotiations with the White House that for the time being are not occurring because the White House is not interested in crossing the NRA.

"With that let me turn it over to Senator Blumenthal." 

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