Pelosi Remarks at Press Event to Tell Speaker Ryan: No Bill, No Break
Contact: Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616
Washington D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Members of the House Democratic Caucus held a press event on the Front Steps of the U.S. Capitol to tell Speaker Ryan: No Bill, No Break, demanding that the Speaker not recess the House without allowing a vote on commonsense gun violence prevention legislation to keep the American people safe. Below are the Leader’s opening and closing remarks:
Leader Pelosi’s Opening Remarks
“Good afternoon, everyone. As we gather once again to speak out in favor of honoring our responsibility to protect and defend the American people, once again we're fighting an uphill fight to have legislation brought to the Floor that would do just that. Right now, as we gather on the steps of the Capitol, there are many on the Floor from the House and Senate, sadly to say, just on the Democratic side – although I know our support for this legislation is bipartisan, legislation to ‘No Fly, No Buy’. If you're on the terrorist list, you can't buy a gun – and for sensible background checks. That's a dual agenda that we have. That was the agenda that was spoken to by Senator Chris Murphy and other Senators on the Floor of the Senate earlier this week.
“Our Members are gathered on the Floor of the House in protest that we cannot even have a vote because we truly believe that if there were a vote, that we would win the vote because 85 to 90 percent of the American people, depending on the bill, support responsible background checks, legislation which is bipartisan and the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ legislation, which is bipartisan.
“So, I'm honored to be here with my colleague, Leader Jim Clyburn, Dan Gross from the Brady Campaign, Congressman Bobby Rush, who will tell us his personal story, Congressman Mike Thompson, who is the Chair of our Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention, Elizabeth Esty from Connecticut and Newtown and Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who will speak about the gun violence that happens every day in our country.
“Since Orlando, probably, nearly a couple hundred people – over 150 people have died from gun violence in the streets of our country. We want to address that issue as well as to deeply pray for those who lost their lives and their family members in Orlando and all of the mass shootings before that, but also remembering those who lose their lives to gun violence every single day. With that, I’m pleased to yield to distinguished Assistant Leader Mr. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.”
Leader Pelosi’s Closing Remarks
“As we gather here on the steps of the Capitol, our colleagues are gathered in great numbers on the Floor of the House. As I said at the beginning, they still are – called together by John Lewis, John Larson and led by our Democratic Whip, Mr. Hoyer. They have been in and out, but, again, this is an echo. We are echoing each other. And what we hope to do is create an echo chamber throughout America of a repeated message of ‘No Bill, No Break.’ Give us a vote. No more – minutes of silence to pay our respects, of course, but it is not a substitute, nor should it be considered one, for action. A moment of silence? We want a moment of truth. We want a time of action to follow it.
“And so you’ve heard the numbers, the statistics, the number of people who have died. The solutions that are being proposed – it's just about the decision of the Speaker of the House to allow a vote on the Floor of the House. Again, 85 percent to 90 percent of the American people support the background checks and the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ legislation.
“Again, all day we'll be there as long as it takes every day. If they adjourn, we'll be here for pro forma, and we'll be in our districts, again, establishing the echo chamber. I think it's really important to note that when our Members gathered on the Floor, 100 strong at least, earlier, the Republican Leadership in the House did not allow people to come into the Gallery to see what was happening on the floor. This is unprecedented. Unprecedented. They said: you can only come in if you have a Member escorting you. And of course, they were not going to allow their Members to – any Republicans to escort Members.
“So this isn't about politics. It's not about elections. It's not about campaigns. It's so much bigger than that. And our Members know that. That's why we have bipartisan support, that's why we have bipartisan support for the legislation that is there – and bipartisan sponsorship.
“So as we return to the Floor, I want to thank all of the groups that Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign referenced, who are working so hard at the grassroots level, so hard at the messaging level. I want to thank all of those who have set social media on fire on this issue. And, again, this is the moment of truth where everyone comes together inspired, of course, most recently by Orlando – but never forgetting all of the damage that went before. So we will be – this is our – for this moment, we are here on the steps of the Capitol, on the Floor of the House. We will continue to be until we get a vote.
“President Lincoln said, ‘Public sentiment is everything.’ The public agrees with this. The public needs to speak out on this. Only then will, again, we honor our oath of office to protect and defend the American people. I thank my colleagues, and I will ask them to join me in thanking the groups that are here with us who have done so much in this regards. Thank you all.”
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