Pelosi says House recess could be cut short if Senate passes background checks bill

Pelosi says House recess could be cut short if Senate passes background checks bill
© Aaron Schwartz

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUSMCA is nice but no model Anti-impeachment Democrat poised to switch parties Grassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks MORE (D-Calif.) said she is prepared to call the lower chamber back into session if the Senate passes bipartisan legislation on background checks. 

The California Democrat noted in a "Dear Colleague" letter on Monday that she and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTurf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills Senate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA CEO group pushes Trump, Congress on paid family, medical leave MORE (D-N.Y.) are amping up pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment CNN's Cuomo promotes 'Dirty Donald' hashtag, hits GOP for 'loyalty oath' to Trump MORE (R-Ky.) to cut the upper chamber's recess short in order to take action on a House-passed bill aimed at strengthening background checks on firearm purchases.

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The push comes shortly after two recent mass shootings — one in El Paso, Texas, and another in Dayton, Ohio — sent shockwaves through the country. 

“On the subject of gun violence prevention, we are aggressively moving forward in pressing Leader Mitch McConnell to call the Senate back into session to pass the Bipartisan Background Check Act (H.R. 8) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1112), which the House passed in February,” she wrote. 

“The House stands ready to return to pass legislation, if the Senate sends us back an amended bipartisan bill or if other legislation is ready for House action. We will pursue public events in Washington and across the country, and make full use of pro-forma sessions and tele-Town Halls to update the American people on the possibilities,” she added. 

Pelosi also noted that House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonOvernight Defense: Watchdog to audit company's border wall contract | Pentagon to step up vetting of foreign students after Pensacola | Report finds former defense official sexually harassed staffers Senate bill would give DHS cyber agency subpoena powers Pentagon watchdog to audit North Dakota company's border wall contract MORE (D-Miss.) announced a series of hearings related to the threats of white supremacy and domestic terrorism that are slated to begin next week.

The Speaker also praised House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJudiciary members battle over whether GOP treated fairly in impeachment hearings Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers MORE (D-N.Y.) for laying out plans for the panel to work on gun control legislation and applauded Rep. Mike ThompsonCharles (Mike) Michael ThompsonOn The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday House panel to consider temporarily repealing SALT deduction cap Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle MORE (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, for suggesting tactics to place pressure on the upper chamber to take up the legislation. 

“For years, Democrats have worked with the survivors of gun violence on legislation and promised that we would never stop until we got the job done. Public sentiment is in favor of gun violence prevention,” she continued. “The American people must weigh in with the Congress and the President.”

Pelosi, who held a conference call with Democratic House members earlier in the day, called for bipartisan action to prevent future instances of mass violence.

“As was indicated on our call, the terrorism of white supremacy is challenging the very character of America,” she said.

“We must work in a hopefully bipartisan way to remove that cancer from our society. To do so, we must ensure that federal agencies, including the FBI, have the resources to protect our country from this curse.  We call upon the President to make this effort a priority for his Administration,” she added.

While Pelosi said it’s possible the House could be called back into session, some expressed doubt that any gun-related legislation will see movement before Congress is scheduled to return in September. 

“[We] likely will not come back. Senate needs to pass background checks,” one Democratic member told The Hill. “They should do that immediately.”