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Schumer tells Democrats they'll push GOP to tackle gun control

Schumer tells Democrats they'll push GOP to tackle gun control
© Aaron Schwartz

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Trump announces opening of relations between Sudan and Israel Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference MORE (D-N.Y.) is pledging that Democrats will push Republicans to act on gun reforms after a recent spate of mass shootings. 

Schumer, in a letter sent Thursday to every member of the Senate Democratic Conference, pointed to gun control as a top priority for Democrats this fall, saying Americans are calling "for real, meaningful action to address the scourge of gun violence that is shattering so many families and communities." 

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"President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE and Senate Republicans have failed to act on the issue of gun violence, bowing repeatedly to the NRA and the hard right by choosing inaction or half-measures over real, meaningful legislation. Comprehensive, evidence-based solutions ... must be a part of any congressional action to curb gun violence," Schumer wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill. 

He added that "Democrats will work as hard as we can to prevail on the majority to finally address the gun violence epidemic and on many other pressing issues." 

Schumer's letter comes as the Senate is scheduled to return from its five-week August recess on Monday, more than a month after more than 30 people were killed in shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. An additional seven were killed in a shooting in Odessa, Texas, on Saturday. 

The White House is talking with lawmakers about potential legislation, but Trump has sent mixed signals about what he would support. 

While he raised strengthening background checks last month, he's more recently focused on mental health. Trump said over the weekend that “as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it," raising new questions about if he'll support legislation to expand background checks. 

Schumer pledged that Democrats "in the coming days and weeks" will push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) to give the House-passed universal background check bill a vote. 

"Despite the severity of the gun violence epidemic in the United States, bipartisan, House-passed background check legislation still languishes in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard. ... Republicans must work with Democrats to answer the American people’s call to action and pass comprehensive background checks for all gun sales," Schumer wrote. 

In addition to trying to pass new gun reform, Schumer said Democrats would also try to rescind the administration's guidance that loosened the requirements for state ObamaCare waivers and try to pass new election security measures in the upcoming government funding bills. 

Schumer also wrote that a "multi-employer pension crisis needs to be front and center," and that he's urging McConnell to put bipartisan legislation supporting Hong King on the floor.  

"Senate Democrats must work to increase pressure on Leader McConnell to stop burying bills he doesn’t like in his graveyard and to get the Senate working again by actually debating and voting on legislation to address our nation’s greatest challenges," Schumer wrote.