Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday condemned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s failure (R-Ky.) to bring up meaningful gun legislation in the upper chamber, arguing that “people are dying” because of his refusal.
“Lives are at stake. Sen. McConnell is standing in the way,” Pelosi told reporters in Washington, noting that the House made an effort to address gun violence by passing legislation in February to extend background checks to all gun sales.
The Speaker’s comments came after being asked if she had any regrets about not calling the lower chamber back into session early from summer recess following the string of mass shootings last month. Pelosi became noticeably irritated by the question, insisting that House lawmakers had already done their job.
“Members had events all over the country to ask [McConnell] to bring up the bill. Don’t ask me what we haven’t done. We have done it,” she said. “And if you are annoyed with my impatience, it’s because people are dying because Sen. McConnell hasn’t acted. Why don’t you go ask him if he has any regrets for all the people who died because he hasn’t?”
Congress reconvened earlier this week following a month in which mass shootings led to the deaths of 53 people, according to The New York Times. The massacres have led to renewed calls from Democrats for Congress to reform the nation’s gun laws.
McConnell has said that he will only bring up gun legislation in the Senate if it is guaranteed to be signed by President Trump. He told reporters on Tuesday that the White House was preparing a proposal to address the “horrendous” shootings in August.
“They are working on coming up with a proposal that the president will sign. Until that happens, all of this is theatrics,” McConnell said.
He also dismissed calls from Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to take up the House-passed gun control measure. He derided the effort as a “stunt” since Trump has already said he would veto the legislation.
The House in February passed legislation that would require all gun sellers to conduct background checks on people purchasing firearms. Pelosi said Monday that there would be “hell to pay” for Senate Republicans if they didn’t pass the bill.