A progressive political action committee hit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Tuesday, calling it "out-of-touch" on gun control laws and criticizing its lack of support for single-payer health care.
The Justice Democrats — founded by The Young Turks creator, progressive activist Cenk Uygur — shared its criticism of the DCCC in response to reports that the DCCC told lawmakers not to support single-payer health care and to refrain from talking about gun control policies following a mass shooting last year.
"It's becoming evident that the DCCC — and the billionaire donors and revolving door consultants that make up the Democratic Party's establishment — believe Democrats can only take back Congress running on a watered-down message," the Justice Democrats said in a statement.
Here's our statement in response to the DCCC's leaked memos in which they are scaring Democratic candidates and officials away from being strong on gun violence and #MedicareForAll. pic.twitter.com/61I2cYr0M4— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) February 27, 2018
HuffPost on Tuesday had reported that the DCCC, which supports Democrats running in the House, told lawmakers not to "politicize" the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October that left nearly 60 dead and hundreds more injured. According to the report, the DCCC urged lawmakers to offer "thoughts and prayers" rather than discuss gun policy in the days immediately following the shooting.
The Huffington Post report came on the heels of a report by The Intercept, which claimed the DCCC urged members against supporting single-payer health-care proposals ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
In a statement to HuffPost, DCCC communications director Meredith Kelly said regional press secretary Evan Lukaske, who sent the email regarding gun violence after the Vegas shooting, was only advising candidates against "hasty responses" to the shooting.
“A communications staffer who fails to provide immediate and thoughtful guidance after a national tragedy, based on the best available information at the time, is not doing his job,” Kelly said.
The DCCC would not confirm to HuffPost whether similar guidance was issued after the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting earlier this month, which left 17 dead and 14 others injured.
The Justice Democrats called that email a "slap in the face" to the grass-roots movements being led by teenagers after the Parkland shooting.
The "Never Again" movement has sparked rallies, protests, marches and school walkouts in an effort to pass gun-control laws.
Gun law reform groups, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's (D-Ariz.) gun reform group Giffords, praised the Parkland students and others for forcing lawmakers past "thoughts and prayers."
“Following the tragedy in Parkland, we’ve seen the students show incredible leadership in demanding more than thoughts and prayers from their elected officials,” Giffords communication director Katie Peters said.
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State Tell our troops: 'Your sacrifice wasn't in vain' Sunday shows preview: Bombing in Kabul delivers blow to evacuation effort; US orders strikes on ISIS-K MORE (D-Conn.), a leading gun control advocate in the Senate, told HuffPost that "no Democrat" should fear talking policy changes after a shooting or ahead of the midterms.
“No Democrat should be worried about talking about policy changes in the wake of these mass shootings," he said.
Updated at 9 a.m.