With U.S. House panel set to take up gun bills, Pa. Dem asks GOP: ‘What are you afraid of?’ | Tuesday Morning Coffee

September 10, 2019 7:11 am

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
The majority-Democrat U.S. House will get the debate over fighting gun violence rolling this afternoon, when the House Judiciary Committee takes up an array of proposals, ranging from extreme risk protection orders; bans on expanded magazines, and a measure that would ban firearms ownership by people convicted of some hate crimes, according to published reports.

In anticipation of that vote, two Democratic lawmakers from Pennsylvania — U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean, of Montgomery County’s 4th District, and Mary Gay Scanlon, of Delaware County’s 5th District, took to Twitter on Monday to urge the Republican-controlled Senate to do its part. The two suburban Philadelphia lawmakers are both members of the Judiciary Committee.

“My first order of business? I’m heading to the House Floor to demand the Senate to take action on the common-sense gun safety bills we sent to them months ago. Our country cannot wait,” Scanlon wrote.

Dean, in a separate post, directed her attention to the two men who, arguably, have the most to say over what happens to any gun-control bill on Capitol Hill.

“As we return to Congress and continue our efforts to pass meaningful gun violence legislation I have one question for @senatemajldr & @RealDonaldTrump: What are you afraid of? We need gun reform now,” she wrote.

Dean was referring to, natchSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has said he won’t hold gun control votes in the Senate unless he has a clear sense of what — if anything — President Donald Trump might be willing to sign into law.

A House-approved background checks bill has been sitting in park in the Senate since the House approved it earlier this year. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is trying to drum up support for a background checks bill he’s co-sponsoring with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Its fate is equally uncertain.

(Flickr Commons photo)

On Monday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent Trump a letter calling on him to support the House-approved background checks bill. While acknowledging that the bill will not stop every shooting, the two lawmakers argued that it would have stopped a deadly rampage in Odessa, Texas on Aug. 31.

“We implore you to seize this moment when your leadership and influence over Republicans in Congress on the issue of guns is so critical,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote. “Please do not squander it by acceding to NRA-backed proposals or other weak ideas that will do nothing to stop the continuing, horrific spread of gun violence and may, in some cases, actually make our communities less safe. We believe you have a unique opportunity to save American lives by giving political cover to your fellow Republicans to finally pass meaningful gun safety legislation. The time for you to act is now, before more lives are lost.”

House Republicans, including two from Pennsylvania, have been pushing back against the background checks bill, the Capital-Star’s Robin Bravender previously reported.

U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District, who also sits on the Judiciary Committee, said in a February statement that the House-approved bill “presents a false promise.” He added, “The reality is that this would make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners, while doing nothing to address the real causes of gun violence.”

Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District, said in a February Facebook post that he doesn’t think the background check legislation advanced by House Democrats would effectively combat mass shootings and could impair law-abiding citizens’ access to guns.

Smucker said he supports legislation to bolster the existing background check system, to fund violence-prevention training, and to send more resources to law enforcement.

The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building.

WikiMedia Commons

Our Stuff.
Sarah Anne
 Hughes has important information: Starting Sept. 16 Pennsylvanians will be able to register online for absentee ballots

Monday was also Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. A Wolf administration official, lawmakers, and public health advocates gathered to stress that this too-frequent malady is 100 percent preventable.

On our Commentary Page, frequent flyer Fletcher McClellan wonders whether the legislative good vibes from the spring will endure into fall. And occasional correspondent, John A. Tures, of LaGrange College, says the POTUS was wrong to negotiate with the Taliban, but right to pull the plug on peace talks.

Image via Flickr Commons

Twenty-one lifers are up for commutation – the Inquirer wonders whether this signals a new era for the Pa. Board of Pardons.
PennLive, meanwhile, ponders the justness of solitary conflinement.
Officials in Fountain Hill, in the Lehigh Valley, are contemplating whether to replace local police coverage. Some say the community’s corporate neighbor, St. Luke’s Hospital, needs to kick in, the Morning Call reports.
The Post-Gazette considers whether there was a ‘different regulatory path’ for the Revolution pipeline.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

Swarthmore College professor is urging colleagues to cancel classes for a ‘climate strike,’ WHYY-FM reports. 
Pennsylvania is shedding manufacturing jobs — despite that, the sector’s chief advocate is backing the White House’s hardball trade tactics, WITF-FM reports.
Veep Mike Pence will appear in Shanksville for the 9/11 memorial this week, PoliticsPA reports.
Writing for Roll Call, Stu Rothenberg explains why working-class whites aren’t abandoning Trump.

Gov. Tom Wolf
is in Europe. The Democrat is spending the week visiting with Pa. National Guard forces in Lithuania. He’s also set to travel to Poland and “leave remembrances of the 11 victims of the October 2018 Tree of Life anti-Semitic attack at two Holocaust memorial sites,” his office said in a statement.

What Goes On.
The House Democratic Policy Committee heads to Philly for a 1 p.m. public hearing with the  Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to get the “youth perspective on criminal justice.” The session takes place at University Institute Charter School on Catharine Street.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
State Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, holds a 6 p.m. reception at the Batdorf Restaurant in lovely Annville, Pa. Admission runs $100 to $500.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to longtime Friend O’the Blog, and attorney, Lisa Marie Benzie, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a groovy little number from Parquet Courts, it’s ‘Tenderness.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
Manchester United 
‘keeper David deGea is close to signing a new contract with the Red Devils, The Guardian reports.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.