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 PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails Trump urges GOP to fight for him 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 SchumerTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria Schumer calls for FDA to probe reports of contaminated baby food How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse MORE (D-N.Y.) are amping up pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump urges GOP to fight for him Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package Trump's top picks for Homeland Security chief are ineligible for job: reports 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: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan Pelosi, delegation make unannounced trip to Afghanistan US ban on China tech giant faces uncertainty a month out 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 NadlerDem committee chairs blast Trump G-7 announcement Top Democrat holds moment of silence for Cummings at hearing Barr to speak at Notre Dame law school on Friday MORE (D-N.Y.) for laying out plans for the panel to work on gun control legislation and applauded Rep. Mike ThompsonCharles (Mike) Michael ThompsonHere are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban House panel advances anti-gun violence legislation Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment 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.”