Nadler eyes early August recess return to address gun violence

Greg Nash

The head of the House Judiciary Committee appears to be preparing to call members of his panel back to Washington, D.C., from their August recess to oversee a markup of gun violence legislation following two deadly mass shootings, sources tell The Hill.

Nothing has been set yet, according to three Judiciary sources, but they say things appear to be in motion after the committee held a members-only phone call Wednesday evening to discuss the prospect of returning to the capital in order to address the renewed and heated debate over the nation’s gun laws. 

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and a faction of other Democrats made their case to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in recent days that the committee should return to D.C. to address additional gun legislation, including an assault weapons ban, after two deadly shootings earlier this week resulted in the deaths of 31 people and wounded scores more. {mosads}

Pelosi and her allies initially pushed back against the idea of having the full House to return to consider the gun legislation, arguing that Democrats have already passed a pair of gun bills earlier in the year and that doing so would take pressure off Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to take up House-passed background check legislation. But in a “Dear Colleague” letter issued after Monday’s call, the Speaker voiced support for Nadler’s plan to potentially bring the Judiciary Committee back to Washington to move additional gun legislation, and left open the possibility for the full House to return, as well.

“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,” she wrote.

From a practical standpoint, it is unlikely McConnell would take up Democratic proposals related to the gun debate. He has previously disregarded other Democratic-led gun proposal bills.

Still, the panel is seeking to nail down one Wednesday towards the end of recess that can accommodate the majority of its members’ schedules for such a return, the sources say. Several members are also on congressional delegation trips, known as codels, during the month of August — overseas trips that must be navigated when considering scheduling. 

A spokesperson for the committee did not respond to a request for comment when asked whether the committee was planning such a return.

If enough members can make it, a markup on other gun bills could be held later in August or the first week in September. The House is slated to return to Washington on Sept. 9.

Scott Wong and Mike Lillis contributed to this story.

Tags August recess gun legislation House Judiciary Commitee Jerrold Nadler Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi

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