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 PelosiJohnson eyes Irish border in Brexit negotiations Mueller report fades from political conversation Five key players in Trump's trade battles 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 SchumerJohnson eyes Irish border in Brexit negotiations Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid MORE (D-N.Y.) are amping up pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi, Schumer press for gun screenings as Trump inches away The malware election: Returning to paper ballots only way to prevent hacking First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons 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 ThompsonHouse committee heads demand Coast Guard Academy explain handling of harassment allegations Hillicon Valley: House panel subpoenas 8chan owner | FCC takes step forward on T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Warren wants probe into FTC over Equifax settlement | Groups make new push to end surveillance program House Homeland Security Committee subpoenas 8chan owner 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 NadlerGOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death French officials call for investigation of Epstein 'links with France' MORE (D-N.Y.) for laying out plans for the panel to work on gun control legislation and applauded Rep. Mike ThompsonCharles (Mike) Michael ThompsonHouse Democrats request sit-down with McConnell to talk guns Democrats raise pressure on McConnell to tackle gun reform 213 Democratic lawmakers call on McConnell to bring up background checks bills 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.”