Schumer, Pelosi urge Trump to support universal background check bill

Schumer, Pelosi urge Trump to support universal background check bill
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse leaders unveil bill to boost chip industry, science competitiveness with China Pelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022 Hoyer says 'significant' version of Build Back Better will pass this year MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday that they had spoken with President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE and urged him to support a universal background check bill.

“We spoke to the President separately this afternoon and told him the best way forward to address gun violence in our country is for Leader McConnell to let the Senate take up and pass the House-passed universal background checks legislation and for the President to sign it into law,” the Democratic leaders said in a joint statement. 

“The President gave us his assurances that he would review the bipartisan House-passed legislation and understood our interest in moving as quickly as possible to help save lives,” they added.

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Their talk with Trump comes as Democrats have homed in on trying to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.) to bring the Senate back into session to vote on the House-passed bill.

Pelosi also sent Trump a letter on Thursday urging him to call the Senate back into session.

“Today, as Speaker of the House, I am writing in good faith to request that you call the United States Senate back into session immediately under your powers in Article II Section 3 of the Constitution to consider House-passed bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation," Pelosi wrote.

The House passed the universal background check measure with the support of eight Republican lawmakers. The Senate’s version has 42 co-sponsors, none of whom are Republicans.

McConnell on Thursday rejected the calls for the Senate to return early from their five-week August recess, saying senators and their staffs would use the next few weeks to try to find areas of agreement that could muster together 60 votes. 

He added that he expected background checks and so-called red flag laws, which are meant to help identify potentially dangerous individuals to block them from purchasing a gun, to be “front and center” in the Senate’s debate.

“The discussion is focusing on two things: One is these red flag warnings. … There's also been some discussion about background checks," McConnell said. "There's a lot of support for that … so those are two items that for sure will be front and center as we see what we can come together on and pass."