MURPHY TO MCCONNELL: STOP ALLOWING DRUG COMPANIES, THE GUN LOBBY, AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES TO CONTROL THE SENATE

WASHINGTON – After more than 150 days since the U.S. House of Representatives passed universal background checks legislation and it stalled in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his colleagues on Tuesday in calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow for a debate and vote on this legislation in the Senate. Commonsense gun reform is just one casualty of the legislative graveyard; the Majority Leader also refuses to put legislation protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions or securing our elections from foreign interference on the Senate floor.  

Specifically, Murphy called on the Senate to bring up Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R.8), which passed the House in February. Murphy introduced the Senate companion bill, the Background Check Expansion Act, which would expand the federal background checks for all gun sales. 97% of Americans support comprehensive background checks. Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check. Sunday’s mass shooting in Gilroy marks the 246th mass shooting in 2019 alone.

“As we mourn the life of six-year old Stephen Romero, we need to understand how [badly] the Senate is failing the American people when it comes to our most basic responsibility, which is to stand up for the physical safety of American citizens—in particular children,” said Murphy. “Nowhere else in the world is this kind of epidemic slaughter endured without intervention. When mass shootings happen in other countries, they respond. They decided to do something about it.”

“Here in the United States Senate, shooting after shooting, slaughter after slaughter, this Republican majority decides to do nothing,” Murphy added.

The full text of Murphy’s remarks is below:

“Thank you very much, Leader Schumer.

“You know, the people aren't in charge of the United States Senate anymore. The drug companies have veto power, the insurance companies dictate the agenda. The gun lobby has more to say than ever before over what happens here. Sometimes it even feels like foreign countries have a bigger say in the United States Senate than many of our voters do.

“And as we mourn the life of six-year old Stephen Romero, we need to understand how [badly] the Senate is failing the American people when it comes to our most basic responsibility, which is to stand up for the physical safety of American citizens—in particular children.

Nowhere else in the world is this kind of epidemic slaughter endured without intervention. When mass shootings happen in other countries, they respond. They decided to do something about it. Here in the United States Senate, shooting after shooting, slaughter after slaughter, this Republican majority decides to do nothing.

And it's even more egregious today because there is a bill on the floor that got bipartisan support in the House of Representatives to make sure that if you buy a gun in this country, you have to prove that you are not a serious criminal or you are seriously mentally ill.

We have the opportunity to debate common sense gun safety legislation in the United States Senate. And even if we don't all agree on that bill, why not at least try to have a debate or a conversation on the Senate floor about ways that we could come together to make the streets of this country safer.

“The Senate has become a legislative graveyard. The Senate now is controlled by special interests outside this place. And as Americans get sick and tired of Congress doing nothing, as this epidemic of gun murder continues, there is only one place for the American people to lay the blame squarely on the leadership of the United States Senate. That refuses, refuses—headline after headline—to have even a debate about how we can make this country safer.”

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