Jun 8, 2022

House Republicans Hold Press Conference Ahead of Gun Safety Legislation Vote 6/08/22 Transcript

House Republicans Hold Press Conference Ahead of Gun Safety Legislation Vote 6/08/22 Transcript
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House Republicans Hold Press Conference Ahead of Gun Safety Legislation Vote 6/08/22. Read the transcript here.

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Elise Stefanik: (00:00)
… members devastated by this horrific, horrific mass shooting. In our districts across America the past two weeks, I will tell you, Americans are struggling. Daily they are faced with historically high gas prices that have now doubled since Joe Biden took office. Over 70% of our nation’s baby formula is out of stock. Homicides are up nearly 50%. Inflation is at a 40-year high. And one of the largest migrant caravans ever is headed to our nation’s Southern border. Yet House Democrats have no agenda for Americans and no real solutions to the problems that we face on a daily basis.

Elise Stefanik: (00:39)
Instead, what are Democrats focused on? They are scrambling to change the headlines, praying that the nation will focus on their partisan witch hunt instead of our pocketbooks. It will not work. Just this week, Nancy Pelosi’s illegitimate January 6th Committee secretly hired the former president of ABC news to produce this shameless primetime show. This was the same producer that covered up victims of Jeff Epstein. This further solidifies what we have known from day one. This committee is not about seeking the truth.

Elise Stefanik: (01:13)
It is a smear campaign against President Donald Trump, against Republican members of Congress, and against Trump voters across this country. This committee is unconstitutional. It is illegitimate. It was not put together according to the rules of the House. It does not serve any true legislative or oversight purpose. And it is not about finding out why Nancy Pelosi left the Capitol so ill-prepared that day. It is designed to punish Nancy Pelosi’s political opponents. It will not prevent another January 6th from happening. It does nothing to address the numerous crises Americans are suffering from because of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi’s radical far-left agenda.

Elise Stefanik: (01:56)
So while Democrats obsess over this illegitimate hearing, House Republicans will be setting the record straight and telling the truth about lame duck Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s sham political witch hunt. And most importantly, we will continue to focus on the important issues that matter facing the American people and how to solve the crises that Joe Biden and House Democrats’ far-left agenda have created, from the border crisis, to the baby formula shortage, to inflation, to soaring gas prices. I will now turn it over to the House Republican Conference Secretary, Richard Hudson.

Richard Hudson: (02:34)
Good morning. My name is Richard Hudson from North Carolina. As a father of an elementary school kid, I am absolutely devastated every time we have a school shooting. I can’t imagine the pain and the horror of those parents when they go through something like that. That’s why I’ve worked so hard all these years to prevent these tragedies. Only two significant gun safety bills have recently passed congress. Both were Republican bills, passed by Republican majorities, signed by a Republican president. The House Democrat mantra has been, “Do something.” The American people want us to do something, but House Republicans have said, “We want to do something that matters.”

Richard Hudson: (03:21)
That’s why I introduced legislation this week, H.R. 7966, STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect Our Nation’s Children Act. This bill would put a billion dollars into grants to hire school resource officers, a billion dollars to hire guidance counselors in schools, and $5 billion into the Stop School Violence Act to harden schools, to provide training on active shooter scenarios for law enforcement, and to help school officials and students learn to better engage, identify students who are in trouble before they reach a breaking point in these schools. That’s $7 billion paid for with unused COVID funds. Republicans have come to the table with real solutions.

Richard Hudson: (04:08)
We have 12 pieces of legislation we’ve introduced this Congress that all address this issue. House Democrats have shown no interest in coming to the table and talking with us about these solutions. Instead, they’re exploiting these tragedies to advance their radical gun control agenda. The bills on the floor this week would’ve done nothing to stop any of these tragedies, and they will never become law. I look at all the newspapers today, Punchbowl, Washington Post, every single one of them says that not a single one of these bills is going to become law. The Senate is not even going to take them up. So why are the House Democrats doing this?

Richard Hudson: (04:45)
They’re doing this because they want to do something so they can say they did something. They want to do something to change the political narrative in this election this fall. I say shame on the House Democrats. Do you realize that today they’re bringing an 11- year-old girl here who two weeks ago smeared herself in her classmate’s blood to try to fool the shooter in Uvalde? They’re bringing in parents who two weeks ago lost their children. And they’re having them testify. They’ve lied to them and they’ve said, “If you’ll come testify, we’ll pass these bills.” They’re exploiting the pain of these people, these children, these parents, to advance their radical interest. I say, shame on them. I say to Nancy Pelosi, stop this cynical disgusting charade and come to the table.

Richard Hudson: (05:36)
We are here. We want to talk. We want to negotiate. We want to solve this problem. We want to save children’s lives. And I call on you, the members of the media, hold them accountable. Ask the tough questions. Ask them which one of these bills would’ve stopped Uvalde. Ask them why they’re advancing red flag legislation when New York already has red flag legislation and it didn’t stop the Buffalo shooting. Ask them why they won’t come to the table. And let’s look at hardening schools. Let’s look at how do we intervene with kids in trouble? Imagine if we’d intervene with this Uvalde shooter before he dropped out of high school, what a difference that would make. Thank you. I will now yield to the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Jim Jordan.

Jim Jordan: (06:23)
Thank you, Richard, and well said. Make no mistake, the Democrats’ efforts today and tomorrow are to destroy the Second Amendment. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can just listen to what they said. Joe Biden, President of the United States, said it’s time to get rid of the most popular handgun in this country. Michael Moore said it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment. Sheila Jackson Lee in our 10-hour markup last Thursday said, “If this bill passes, we’re not finished.” They want to do more. They want to take away people’s Second Amendment rights.

Jim Jordan: (06:49)
Mondaire Jones, a colleague of ours, said in the committee hearing last week, “If this bill doesn’t pass, we will end the filibuster. We will expand the Supreme Court. We will do whatever it takes to get people’s Second Amendment rights limited.” The hodgepodge piece of legislation that’s on the floor today, a combination of six bills, in short tells Americans, law-abiding American citizens, when they can buy a firearm, what kind of firearm they can get, and where and how they have to store it in their own darn home. Direct attack on Second Amendment rights.

Jim Jordan: (07:20)
The legislation on the floor tomorrow as Richard mentioned, this red flag legislation, is so dangerous. I mean the idea that someone who doesn’t like you can file a complaint, within 24 hours there is a hearing, you’re not allowed to be at that hearing, you’re not allowed to confront your accuser, and they can take away your Second Amendment rights, is as wrong as it gets in our system, in our constitutional system here in America. I hope every single Republican is going to vote against this. I think we’re going to be close. Every single member of the Judiciary Committee opposed this legislation, this red flag concept, last week in the committee markup. Regarding January 6, I think the goal has been stated-

Jim Jordan: (08:02)
The goal has been stated. Mr. Raskin stated it. The goal is to end the Electoral College, and the goal is to stop President Trump from running in 2024, plain and simple. As Elise said, they’re so focused on this. They’ve hired the former president of ABC News to produce their partisan documentary and who is their first witness? A documentarian. So this tells us how political this thing is, and as [inaudible 00:08:26] mentioned, I think the American people have figured it out, but their focus on attacking their political opponents is so strong. They don’t care about the rules. They don’t follow the rules, the resolution that says how you’re supposed to form this committee. They didn’t follow those rules. First time in the history of the Congress, that the minority leader was not allowed to put on the select committee, the individuals he or she had selected. 232 year history of our great country.

Jim Jordan: (08:53)
Of course, we have caught this committee altering evidence and lying to the American people about it. Maybe the worst is when they put on their hearings, there is no cross-examination. Every single hearing we have in this Congress, the majority party can have more witnesses. The majority party’s going to have more members on that committee, but the minority party always gets a chance to cross-examine the witness, even in the crazy partisan impeachment they did in 2019, where Adam Schiff held the depositions and the meetings in the bunker in the basement of the Capitol. Even then there were Republicans in the room and we could depose the witnesses, and of course, in the open hearings, we could cross-examine the individuals the Democrats brought in, not so here. Which just, again, underscores how partisan this effort is.

Jim Jordan: (09:34)
I think, as our conference chair pointed out, the American people see it for what it is, and they understand the real issues that are impacting them every single day. I would now yield to the guy who was supposed to be the ranking member on this committee, if it functioned according to the rules, my friend and colleague, Mr. Banks.

Richard Hudson: (09:52)
Thank you, Jim, and good morning to all of you. Before the sham investigation even started, Speaker Pelosi blocked me and Jim Jordan from investigating January 6th. She discredited the sham committee before it even started. So you have to ask the question, why would she do that? Because it isn’t only a partisan witch hunt. It’s an attempt that we now know based on reports over the weekend, that the committee is being used to advance the radical Democratic agenda, that includes abolishing the Electoral College, but it’s also a coverup. Speaker Pelosi blocked us because she’s afraid of what a real investigation would uncover. She doesn’t want Americans to find out what really happened on January 6th and leading up to it. She doesn’t want anyone asking questions about her role and her responsibilities in securing the United States’ Capitol. That’s why the committee is refusing to answer basic questions about January 6th. In fact, blocking these questions from even being asked.

Richard Hudson: (10:59)
Questions that must be answered to keep the Capitol safe and to prevent another riot or incident like January 6th from ever happening again in the future. What questions am I talking about? First of all, Capitol Police officers, we now know were half-staffed on January 6th because of COVID. How is that? Two, why were our Capitol Police officers underequipped? Why were some officers forced to face down a riot with either expired helmets or no helmets at all? Three, why was the United States Capitol Police never trained to deal with riots after all of the riots that were going on in the summer of 2020? Four, did Speaker Pelosi communicate with the House Sergeant at Arms on January 6th or in the days leading up to the riot?

Richard Hudson: (11:55)
Five, was Speaker Pelosi involved in the decision to delay the National Guard assistance on January 6th? Six, why didn’t the Capitol Police intelligence unit raise the alarm about potential violence when they had evidence and intelligence for weeks leading up to January 6th, that something violent could happen at the Capitol that day? Seven, why did the FBI deploy commandos to Quantico on January 3rd with shoot-to-kill authority, but fail to send the US Capitol Police a single threat assessment or intelligence bulletin? Eight, why did the House Sergeant at Arms refuse to cooperate with the Senate Homeland securities bipartisan January 6th investigation?

Richard Hudson: (12:43)
Those are just some of the questions that Jim Jordan and I were prepared to ask if we were able to participate in this investigation and in these hearings. But Nancy Pelosi blocked us from the committee because she knows that those questions leave a trail of bread crumbs right back to the speaker’s office. Today in my hometown in Columbia City, my constituents are paying $5 and 25 cents for a gallon of gas. There hasn’t been a single committee hearing on Capitol Hill about rising gas prices, let alone one in prime time for all of the American people to see. But the American people are sick and tired of what they’re getting out of this Pelosi and Democrat-led Congress. They’re tired of their theatrics. They want their congressmen and women to focus on the issues that matter most to them, but instead, this is what we’re left up to. It’s a shame, and I believe that will backfire big time on these Democrats, as we near the election to come. With that, I yield to our whip, Mr. Scalise.

Rep. Scalise: (13:53)
Thank you, Jim. My prayers continue to be with the victims and their families in Uvalde, Texas, and we all had the same heartbreak when we see something like that happen. What we saw, unfortunately, in the minutes and hours after, by some people here in Washington was a movement to promote their political agenda on the heels of that tragedy. What they were talking about the night of the shooting was trying to get Congress to move a bill that had passed the House, a gun control bill, HR8, that would’ve had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting. Instead of focusing on some fundamental questions that ought to be asked every time there’s a tragedy in this country, why did it happen, and are there things we can do to prevent it? I go back to September 11th, because on that tragic day, the country made a clear realization that dots weren’t being connected. Terrorist attacks were happening, and the country didn’t have the right focus on the fundamental core problems that were creating those attacks.

Rep. Scalise: (15:06)
Airplanes were used that day as the weapon to kill thousands of people and to inflict terror on our country. There wasn’t a conversation about banning airplanes. There was a conversation about connecting the dots. “How can we try to figure out if there are signs we can see to stop the next attack from happening?” Some people might have thought that wasn’t possible, and yet, because Congress came together and focused on the root cause of the problem. Thank God, we have been able to stop other attacks on our homeland, and there have been many attempts, but because we put the focus on connecting the dots, we were able to stop them before they happened. That’s the focus we need to have. Whether it’s school shootings, we saw the other day in Berkeley, California, there was an attempt for a student to blow up his high school. Luckily, another student got wind of it and tipped off authorities, and the authorities were able to use due process…

Rep. Scalise: (16:03)
And the authorities were able to use due process of law to go and arrest that student, so the attack never happened. Our focus needs to be on that kind of prevention, that kind of intervention. What Richard Hudson was talking about. It’s things like hardening schools, it’s things like mental health counselors. It’s things like helping teach other students the telltale signs. Because we’ve seen in so many of these mass shootings that many students knew this was going to happen before the event. Maybe they didn’t think it was real, maybe they didn’t know what to do with that information, but they knew that that student was going to do something. And unfortunately, up here this week, today and tomorrow, you’re going to see a lot of bills that are attempting to take away the gun rights of law-abiding citizens, not to focus on those core fundamental problems.

Rep. Scalise: (16:59)
You had AR-15s in the 1960s. You didn’t have those mass school shootings. Now, I know it’s something that some people don’t want to talk about, we actually had prayer in school during those days. We had other things going on in our society where we took a different approach to our young kids, and let’s look at that. These are tough conversations we should be having that we’re not having about why we’re seeing more young kids go astray. But instead of that, all we see is a rush to go take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to have guns. And it’s not just rifles. You saw President Biden himself the other day, talking about going after handguns. And yet every day in America, people use guns to protect themselves.

Rep. Scalise: (17:44)
There are record numbers right now, millions of Americans buying guns for the first time, because crime is out of control in America. It’s not just in our schools, it’s all across our country. When the “defund the police” movement started, you have DAs now who won’t even prosecute criminals at certain levels of crime. They wait until it becomes a really violent crime. They’re letting criminals out on the streets and, lo and behold, we have more crime. So citizens in every community, African American communities, Hispanic communities, Asian communities are saying, “If the government’s not going to take care of their job of keeping our communities safe, we’re going to do it ourselves by exercising our Second Amendment rights and buying a gun.” Millions of people, first-time gun buyers last year. And to just discard their rights, number one is unconstitutional, but it’s ignoring the fundamental problem that’s going on right now.

Rep. Scalise: (18:43)
And so it’s a shame that that’s not where our focus is, is fixing and addressing those fundamental problems, but we as House Republicans are going to keep pushing to do that. We’re going to force votes on Richard Hudson’s bills that would actually get to some of those fundamental questions, as opposed to bills, that in states across the country like California, taking away 18 to 20-year-olds’ right to buy a gun was ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, of all places. Red flag laws, where they don’t even have due process, which is enshrined in multiple parts of our United States Constitution. That’s the road the Democrats are going down, and it’s a shame because it ignores addressing the fundamental problem.

Rep. Scalise: (19:27)
So, there’s obviously other things going on in this January 6th commission, as my colleagues talked about. The idea that Nancy Pelosi continues to politicize January 6th, while ignoring things like high gas prices, inflation that’s out of control, a border crisis that has brought not only millions of people into our country illegally, but fentanyl. You want to talk about deaths among young kids, thousands of young kids have died from fentanyl that’s come across our southern border last year alone. Over 100,000 Americans last year died from the opioids that are coming across our open southern border. We can do something about that today. And unfortunately, there’s no legislation that Speaker Pelosi will bring to secure our southern border. There’s no primetime hearing to talk about what needs to be done to keep Americans safe. And that’s a shame too.

Rep. Scalise: (20:24)
And finally, and we’ll take questions, it’s angering when you see that there was a man arrested just a little while ago, last night, out in front of Justice Kavanaugh’s house, trying to kill him. When we were vocal a few weeks ago, speaking out against this encouragement you saw from the White House on down, to encourage people to go to homes, the private homes of Supreme Court Justices. It is a dangerous trend. Exercising First Amendment rights is one thing. Encouraging people to go to the homes of Supreme Court Justices… You see where that can lead, and it’s a shame. Thank God law enforcement was able to arrest the man who was intending on committing that action. But it just reminds us all, let’s try to continue to focus on problems, not try to create problems. And with that, we’ll be happy to take questions.

Speaker 1: (21:29)
My question is for Congressman Jordan, I actually wanted to ask you about that, your reaction to the arrest of that suspect near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, telling police that he was there to attempt to kill Kavanaugh.

Jim Jordan: (21:43)
Well, I think the Whip, and obviously the Whip comes from a perspective that very few people on the planet can come from, said it best, but it’s a direct violation of, I think it’s 18 USC Section 1507. There’s a statute on the books that says you’re not supposed to be in front of Supreme Court… any judge trying to intimidate, bully, influence them when there’s a pending matter in front of the Court. And that’s exactly what this was all about. So the good news is Justice Kavanaugh is safe and the bad guy has been arrested.

Speaker 2: (22:16)
Congressman, in the days after January 6th, audio that has been revealed shows Leader McCarthy expressing concern about then President Trump’s conduct on the day of January 6th. More than a year later, do any of you on stage still have any concerns about how the former president acted that day, January 6th, 2021, or want to learn more information about how he handled that day?

Jim Jordan: (22:45)
No, I think we’re focused on what our conference chair indicated, what are Whip indicated. We’re focused on the concerns the American people have, American families have with… You can go down the list. You tell me one thing that’s gotten better. There’s a reason more than 7 out of 10 of our fellow citizens think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. They think that because it is, and it’s all happened in 18 months.

Jim Jordan: (23:07)
We have went from a secure border to complete chaos. We no longer have a border. We’ve went from stable prices to 41-year-high inflation. We’ve went from a energy-independent country to $5 gas and the President begging Saudi Arabia, OPEC, Iran, and Venezuela to increase production. And we went from relatively safe streets to record levels of crime in every major urban area. I haven’t even got into foreign policy or the attacks on our First Amendment, as we talked about earlier, our Second Amendment liberties. So I think that’s what American people care about, and not the question you asked.

Speaker 2: (23:36)
Does he speak for all of you though? Do you…

Speaker 3: (23:38)
I agree with Jim Jordan. Okay.

Speaker 4: (23:40)
Mr. Scalise, I just want to drill down on one thing you said on red flag laws. Florida has a red flag law that Rick Scott signed into law. Senate seems to be modeling some of what they’re doing on red flag laws on what he did. Are you against red flag laws as a blanket proposition?

Rep. Scalise: (23:57)
What I’ve said is what Speaker Pelosi’s bringing to the floor today and tomorrow-

Speaker 4: (24:02)
That wasn’t my question. I’m not asking-

Rep. Scalise: (24:02)
… doesn’t have due process…

Rep. Scalise: (24:02)
More today and tomorrow.

Speaker 4: (24:02)
That was my question. I’m not asking-

Rep. Scalise: (24:03)
It doesn’t have due process. Look, this came up in the committee last week in Jim Jordan’s committee, multiple times. The idea that you would try to take away somebody’s constitutional rights without due process is an un-American concept.

Speaker 4: (24:16)
But I’m asking, are you-

Rep. Scalise: (24:17)
And the bill, they’ve never attempted to work with us to even address whether due process should be part of the package. And it’s not part of the package.

Speaker 4: (24:24)
But my question is about not about the house bill. Are you against red flag laws as a broad proposition?

Rep. Scalise: (24:30)
What I’ve been concerned about is this idea that if you think that just taking guns away from American citizens is the answer, we’ve seen over and over how that’s not worked. Look at West Virginia about two weeks ago. In West Virginia, you had a guy with an AR15. He was first driving by a school party, it was a birthday party and a graduation party of young kids. And he was driving fast, one of the neighbors told him to slow down. He goes, gets a gun, comes back and tries to shoot up the whole party. There was a woman, thank God, with a handgun, because Joe Biden’s going after handguns, legally concealed carry, and she pulls out the gun and takes down the shooter.

Rep. Scalise: (25:13)
Well, it turned out later that he’s a convicted felon, and under current law is prohibited from having that gun. Yet, he had the gun. If they had their way, they would’ve taken away her gun, and he would’ve been able to shoot people. So the idea that there’s a magic bill, I wish there was a magic bill that would stop bad people from doing bad things. I think most Americans know that’s not the reality. So how do we confront why people are doing it? We don’t put the focus on why. There’s an immediate movement anytime something bad happens about taking away guns from people. Instead of saying, “Why is this happening?” And can we actually do something like we did after September 11th to connect the dots and stop it from happening again? That’s where I’m going to put the focus.

Speaker 4: (25:57)
So you are opposed to red flag laws.

Rep. Scalise: (25:58)
I’m going to continue to put the focus on trying to stop it from happening again, by connecting dots and trying to look for those signs that are out there, that are not being dealt with right now.

Speaker 4: (26:08)
So that answer is yes, you are opposed to red flags.

Speaker 5: (26:11)
[inaudible 00:26:11].

Rep. Scalise: (26:11)
Start over. I’m sorry.

Rep. Scalise: (26:11)
Start over. I’m

Speaker 5: (26:12)
There is a bill that’s being negotiated at least right now in the Senate. I know you guys have been focused on what House Democrats have been doing today, but put that aside for a second. What the Senate is trying to focus on is something that speaks to something that I think you’ve all mentioned, which is mental health and school safety, as well as what Jake was talking about with red flag laws, and some changes to background check systems. Is that something that you could see any appetite among your members for if the Senate ultimately comes out with that kind of a bipartisan negotiation?

Rep. Scalise: (26:40)
We’re not part of the Senate negotiations-

Speaker 5: (26:43)
But you’ve heard what they’re talking about.

Rep. Scalise: (26:44)
We’ve heard a lot of things that they’re talking about. If they can come to a consensus, we’ll surely look at what they do have. But like I said, in the meantime, we have been working on some things ourselves that are focused on confronting the problem. What Richard Hudson has done is focused on confronting the problem. There are other things that are being worked on that confront the problem too, that focus again on the root causes of the problem. If that’s where the Senate goes, let’s take a look at it. But again, in the House, that’s not where they’re going. There are immediate rushes to just go take away guns from law abiding citizens. And that’s not something we support.

Rep. Scalise: (27:17)
Yeah. Final question, in the green right there.

Speaker 6: (27:20)
For the legislation today, we’re going to see seven individual votes on the titles. Now, you’ve been whipping against the package as a whole. Are there any individual titles that are coming to the floor today that you think your caucus could support as an individual bill?

Rep. Scalise: (27:33)
Well, we know some members of our caucus do support some of those components. Where they are in final passage is what we whipped against. Thomas Massey has some language in an amendment that we support, that would at least get some more data out there that I think would be helpful to use. And we support that amendment by Thomas Massey. It’s the final package that we’re whipping against. And again, some of our members may vote for individual pieces of that bill, but ultimately vote against the final passage, because there are a number of unconstitutional measures that are part of that as well. So it’s going to be a full week. Thank you very much.

Speaker 7: (28:10)
Will you ask Mitch McConnell the same questions you have for Speaker Pelosi? Because he also had an appointee on the Capitol police board on January 6th. Why do you keep singling out the speaker?

Speaker 8: (28:29)
[inaudible 00:28:29]

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