Pelosi Floor Remarks on House Republicans’ Inaction on Commonsense Gun Violence Prevention Legislation
“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. In the course of these one minutes, of which there have been over 50 – thank you, Mr. Cicilline, for bringing us together once again on the steps of the Capitol a couple nights ago and now here in the chamber. When we are in school and they tell us to write about something, they say, ‘Answer these questions: Who? What? When? Where? And why?
“Who? Little children in Newtown, young people in Orlando, churchgoers in South Carolina, moviegoers in Colorado, again and again. The list goes on and on as to the vulnerability. What, what, what? Slaughter of people. Mr. Thompson has repeated the numbers over and over again, but 91 people killed every night on the streets of our country – and we had 91 people in orange shirts on the steps of the Capitol last week to mention that. Over 1,000 mass [shootings] since Newtown – mass [shootings] being described as [four or more] people being [shot] in any one instance.
“What, what, what, what? Violence in the streets of our cities and even our churches and other. Who? What? When? Every day. Every single day with greater frequency and intensity. Most recently in Dallas – so sad, the assassination of five police officers. And we spoke – many of us spoke to that in the course of the last few days. Where? All over the country. I just mentioned Dallas, I mentioned some other venues earlier. All over the country every single day.
“But the main question is – why? Why is this happening? Mayor Rawlings of Dallas was very eloquent in his comments when he said, ‘We must address the root causes of this.’ Yes, but why are these guns so readily available? Because Congress will not act, refuses to act on passing commonsense gun violence prevention legislation. No Fly, No Buy; almost everyone in our country supports that. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, gun owners, NRA members – not the NRA. The NRA stands between any commonsense solutions in this Congress, which I think they own. Why? Because some people think their political survival is more important than the survival of little kids in kindergarten in Newtown. Why is it happening in kindergarten classes, in churches, in places of recreation for young people, in theaters, and bowling allies? You name it, it's happened there. Why? Because we have not fully impressed upon the American people their role in lobbying Congress to make a difference.
“We are limited in what we can ask people to do vis-a-vis congress, but they are unlimited in their advocacy and their capacity. Nothing is more eloquent to a Member of Congress than the voice of his or her own constituents. As John Lewis, our beautiful icon who has led all of us in this has said: what we have to do is convince the average Joe – that would be J-o or J-o-e – of their power to make the difference in our country by making their voices heard to Members of Congress who have the power to vote for legislation. We over and over again asked for the Speaker to give us a vote because we believe and have confidence in the American people that their voices will be heard and not ignored again and again and again and again by the Republicans in Congress but will give us a vote that will make America safer.
“Help us to honor, to honor our oath of office, to protect and defend the American people. This has gone into the realm of hate crimes – same thing in South Carolina, same thing in Orlando. It must end but our message is clear: we will not end until this is over, until we get commonsense gun violence prevention legislation passed by the Congress of the United States.
“So I thank all of my colleagues for what they are doing, Mr. Leader – our Whip, Mr. Hoyer, is the leader on the Floor for us. Thank you for orchestrating all of this with Mr. Cicilline and so many others. And I thank you, my colleagues, for making the voices of your constituents heard here. With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”