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It’s Thursday morning.
There was another mass shooting Wednesday in Tulsa, Okla. Four people were murdered by a gunman in a medical building connected to Saint Francis Hospital. The gunman then reportedly killed himself as police arrived.
This latest horrific incident comes as the House Judiciary Committee gets ready to hold a high-profile – and possibly lengthy – markup today for a large package of gun-control bills Democrats have put together as part of the “Protecting Our Kids Act.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi also promised Wednesday to have a hearing and mark up of the assault weapons ban at a future date. Although nothing has been scheduled as of now. Gun control advocates have demanded the restoration of this ban for years.
This spate of new legislation is Democrats’ response to a wave of recent mass shootings that has left the nation stunned. Nineteen children and two adults were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. That massacre came just days after a white gunman killed 10 Black people in a racist attack in Buffalo.
Faced with this seemingly unending stream of bloodshed, Democrats are proposing the most sweeping set of gun-control bills taken up by Congress in decades, although there’s no chance of overcoming Senate Republican opposition to enact most of these proposals into law.
In the package being marked up today, Democrats want to bar the sale of semi-automatic rifles to anyone under 21; ban high-capacity ammunition magazines; prohibit the sales of “ghost gun” kits without a background check or serial numbers stamped on the parts used in assembling the weapon; boost penalties for illegal “straw purchases” of guns; and require gun owners to store their weapons safely, especially when minors are present.
Democrats will finish the markup today, meaning before midnight. The leadership has made sure that there will be full attendance by all Democrats on the panel for the hybrid hearing, including some members traveling overseas. That will allow Democratic leaders to have the package at the Rules Committee by Tuesday, and on the House floor later next week.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has also set a vote for next week on a “red flag” bill offered by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), whose son was shot to death a decade ago. That legislation – which calls for the removal of guns from those deemed dangerous to themselves or others – will be twinned with a bill by Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) to encourage states to enact their own red flags laws. Nineteen states currently have such laws. Carbajal’s sister used a gun to kill herself.
Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who helped put together the gun-control package with leadership, sought to preempt GOP complaints that guns are “being taken from law-abiding Americans” or the crisis that the country faces is a mental health one, not guns.
Here’s an excerpt from Nadler’s opening statement:
“You say that it is too soon to take action? That we are “politicizing” these tragedies to enact new policies? It has been twenty-three years since Columbine. Fifteen years since Virginia Tech. Ten years since Sandy Hook. Seven years since Charleston. Four years since Parkland and Santa Fe and Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It has been three years since El Paso. It has been a week since we learned, again, that gun violence can reach any of our children and grandchildren at any time, and that no number of armed guards can guarantee their safety. Too soon? My friends, what the hell are you waiting for?”
Republicans can offer amendments to the package, of course, although GOP aides declined to comment on how their side would seek to modify the legislation during the markup.
Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, was sharply critical of the Democratic package during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. Here’s Jordan:
“I think it’s just wrong to attack the Second Amendment liberties of law-abiding citizens, and that’s what these bills do. The answer is to make sure you have school facilities secured, and you have security officers who are trained and well-equipped to protect kids and teachers and the educational environment – not these various bills that they’ve piled into one hodgepodge package.”
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), is negotiating on a more narrow gun-control package that focuses on state-based red flag programs, school safety and mental health programs. The two sides hope to have an agreement in place by next week when Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess. More on that in the next card.
– John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
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PUNCHBOWL NEWS EVENTS
We’re hitting the road – again! Join the Punchbowl News team in Concord, N.H., Tuesday, June 28 at 9 a.m. ET for an interview with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) focused on the challenges facing small business owners coming out of the pandemic, followed by a fireside chat with New Hampshire-based small business owners Toutou Marsden and Tim Pipp. The conversation is the second in a four-part traveling series sponsored by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. RSVP to join in-person or virtually today!
Can’t join us in New Hampshire? Don’t forget about our other June events. Our first one is next week with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) focused on the environmental impact of 5G in manufacturing. RSVP!
CARD SUBHEADING TK
McConnell, Cornyn give more details on gun control
The Senate’s bipartisan group considering new gun control measures met Wednesday, and our reporting indicates the talks are progressing at a somewhat quick clip.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the leading Republican in the group, sent us this statement: “We are making rapid progress toward a common sense package that could garner support from both Republicans and Democrats.“
Rapid progress. That’s not something you hear too often during thorny and complicated legislative negotiations.
We wanted to draw your attention to two clips that help illustrate a bit about how key players are talking about the effort back home.
The first is from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Cornyn is the key Republican in the talks. He’s been involved with gun-control negotiations for several years now. This includes unsuccessful talks with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) over expanding background checks on gun sales unsuccessfully in the past.
But Cornyn seems to be taking a new tone, especially as it relates to red-flag laws. The Texas Republican says here that Congress should make it difficult for “people who are mentally ill or criminals” to have guns. Convicted felons can’t legally buy a gun from a federal firearms licensee, although no background checks are required for private sales. Cornyn also believes Congress should beef up school security.
The next clip is of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell has blessed Cornyn’s participation in these talks. Without that, this effort would be over. But what’s interesting here – as NBC’s Ali Vitali also pointed out during this segment – is McConnell talks about “two broad categories” that the bill should address. Congress needs to tackle “mental illness and school safety,” McConnell says. McConnell says he wants to “make some progress on this horrendous problem – consistent with our Constitution and our values.”
If you read between the lines there, the “consistent with our Constitution” seems to be a nod to the need for red flag laws to include strong due-process provisions. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is working with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on the red flag language, and they both have promised robust such protections.
Again, a bipartisan deal is still an uphill struggle. But, at this moment, many of the key players are saying the right things about a potential compromise.
– Jake Sherman
CHIPS CASHED IN
Online retailers make their USICA demands
One of the big-ticket legislative items this summer is USICA, the massive legislative package aimed at boosting America’s competitiveness with China in high-tech research and manufacturing. This bill is already the subject of a ton of lobbying by everyone from Big Tech companies to pet interests – yes, animal lobbyists – who are looking to influence the international trade of pets.
Enter The Coalition to Protect America’s Small Sellers. This coalition – which includes third-party retailers such as Etsy, eBay and Pinterest – have a new letter this morning, making their interests clear on the massive package.
The coalition is asking for the negotiating committee – made up of more than 100 Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate – to do three things with the bill:
→ The removal of the SHOP SAFE Act – Section 80103 (COMPETES)
→ The inclusion of the INFORM Consumers Act – Section 20213 (COMPETES)
→ The removal of Section 2511 (USICA) on the Country of Origin Labeling Act
The SHOP SAFE Act makes online retailers “liable for infringement of a registered trademark by a third-party seller of goods that implicate health and safety unless the platform takes certain actions,” according to the Congressional Research Service. This, of course, could be a big problem for websites such as Etsy or eBay.
The INFORM Consumers Act requires “online marketplaces to collect, verify, and disclose certain information from high-volume, third-party sellers,” according to CRS.
And Country of Origin Labeling requires online retailers to label where products were made.
The main takeaway: A bill the size of USICA is going to touch all areas of commerce and everyone is getting in the game, trying to influence the bill.
– Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Every day the 1.5 million members of the National Association of REALTORS® are working to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to achieve homeownership.
→ Blade Air Mobility, the private aviation company, has hired Bolton-St. Johns to lobby on “[i]ssues related to H.R. 1643, Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2021. Issues related to H.R. 7769, To establish a commission to develop a helicopter usage management plan for certain airspace, and for other purposes.”
H.R. 7769 creates a commission to study “nonessential” helicopter flights in “airspace directly over any city with a population over 7 million people and with a population density of over 25,000 people per square mile, including the airspace over any waterways considered within the limits of such city.” Blade shuttles wealthy New Yorkers from Manhattan to New York City airports and the Hamptons.
Bolton-St. Johns is based in Albany. Blade has been in a dispute with East Hampton, N.Y., over the use of its airport. Read about it in the NYT.
– Jake Sherman
→ First in Punchbowl News: Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Alex Lasry is up with a new ad focusing on what he sees as the challenges facing the state — inflation, high gas prices and threats to abortion rights. Lasry pledges to protect a woman’s ability to obtain abortion services, as well as working to lower prescription drug prices.
The ad is running statewide and is backed by a seven-figure buy. Lasry – the son of billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry, who co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks – is partially self-funding his campaign, and he’s spent heavily on television ads. Recent polls show him tightening the gap with the race’s frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
→ Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark will be in Las Vegas today, hosting separate events with Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford. The Lee event will be focused on abortion, while the Horsford event will be an LGBTQ event for Pride Month.
→ Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) has her first campaign ad up, and it’s a positive spot focused on the help she provided to a family that had two children with diabetes. It also talks about how Herrera Beutler’s own child survived Potter’s Syndrome, a neonatal kidney disease. Remember: Herrera Beutler voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, and the president’s allies are eager to defeat her. The spot is running in the Portland media market.
→ Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) is up with a negative ad on Katie Arrington in the South Carolina. The ad highlights Arrington getting her security clearance taken away. Trump has endorsed Arrington in the GOP primary, which will be June 14.
→ One of the next hot member-on-member primaries is in Michigan, where Democratic Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens will face off. Both Levin and Stevens are now running their first ads in the race. Levin’s spot talks about how he’s a true progressive. Stevens’ ad talks about her work as chief of staff to the auto industry rescue in Michigan during the Obama era. It includes former President Barack Obama touting Stevens’ work at a rally, in addition to her advocacy on behalf of automakers while serving in Congress. The primary in Michigan will be held Aug. 2.
— Jake Sherman and Max Cohen
10:15 a.m.: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will receive their daily intelligence briefing.
11:15 a.m.: Biden will attend a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to discuss the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of this month.
3 p.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre and Covid coordinator Ashish Jha will brief.
5:30 p.m.: Biden will leave the White House for Rehoboth Beach, Del. He will arrive at 6:30 p.m.
→ “The U.S. Is Sending Advanced Weapons to Ukraine. But Conditions Apply,” by David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Julian E. Barnes
→ “The G.O.P.’s Surprise Rescue Operation in an Orange County House Race,” by Leah Askarinam
→ “How the Proud Boys Gripped the Miami-Dade Republican Party,” by Patricia Mazzei and Alan Feuer in Miami
→ News Analysis: “Sussmann Acquittal Raises Question: What Is Durham Actually Trying to Do?” by Charlie Savage
→ “Europe’s Russian Oil Ban Could Mean a New World Order for Energy,” by Clifford Krauss in Houston
→ “House Republicans to unveil plan on climate, energy,” by Maxine Jaslow and Jeff Stein
→ “California calls for ‘comprehensive reparations’ for Black Americans,” by Emmanuel Felton
→ “Education Dept. to clear $5.8B in debt of Corinthian Colleges students,” by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel
→ “Biden looks powerless as crises crest around him,” by Stephen Collinson
→ “Biden Likely to Visit Saudi Arabia as US Gasoline Prices Spiral, Sources Say,” by Jennifer Jacobs
→ “Oil Prices Fall Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting,” by Caitlin Ostroff
→ “How the Fed’s Portfolio Runoff Will Work,” by Nick Timiraos
→ “Fetterman will have announcement ‘soon’ on return to campaign trail,” by Holly Otterbein
→ “One ‘underdog’ candidate sees opportunity in N.Y. maps mess,” by Nick Wu in New York
→ “Pa. GOP gubernatorial nominee shares documents with Jan. 6 panel, agrees to interview,” by Betsy Woodruff Swan
→ “Defiance, acceptance and cries of ‘bull—’ as sweeping L.A. water restrictions begin,” by Jaimie Ding and Hayley Smith
Dallas Morning News
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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