House

Gallego knocks Sinema over remarks in wake of Texas school shooting

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday knocked Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) following the elementary school shooting in Texas that killed 21 people, including 19 children, criticizing his Grand Canyon State colleague for supporting the legislative filibuster.

Sinema on Tuesday — hours after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas — wrote on Twitter that she was “horrified and heartbroken” by the massacre.

“We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly. No families should ever have to fear violence in their children’s schools,” Sinema wrote.

Just over one hour later, Gallego told Sinema to “just stop,” pointing to her stance on the filibuster, which requires bills to secure 60 votes for passage in the Senate.

“Please just stop.. unless you are willing to break the filibuster to actually pass sensible gun control measures you might as well just say ‘thoughts and prayers,’ ” Gallego wrote on Twitter.

Sinema, along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), has been opposed to removing the filibuster to pass various bills, which many Democrats have called for amid stark partisan gridlock in Washington.

Manchin on Tuesday, in the aftermath of the shooting, said “it makes no sense at all why we can’t do commonsense” gun limits, but reiterated his support for the filibuster when pressed on if he would nix the 60-vote threshold to pass firearm reform.

“The filibuster is the only thing that prevents us from total insanity. Total insanity,” Manchin said.

The House in March 2021 passed two measures aimed at tightening background checks on firearm sales and transfers, but both bills have since languished in the Senate because of GOP opposition.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act would enact new background check requirements for gun transactions between private parties, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act would extend the review period in which a background check can be conducted prior to purchasing a firearm.

Even if the Senate were to do away with the legislative filibuster, however, the bipartisan background check bill does not have enough support among the Democratic Party to pass in the upper chamber. Manchin has said that the legislation goes too far.

The West Virginia Democrat has been supportive of resurrecting his push for a bill he crafted with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), which requires that firearms sales at a gun show or online be subject to a background check, but allowed exemptions for sales between family and friends.

The proposal, however, ultimately failed in the Senate in a 54-46 vote.

Tuesday was not the first time Gallego has publicly taken on his Arizona colleague. In January, he said it was “past time” for Sinema and the Senate to pass legislation protecting voting rights.

Also in January, Gallego said he had been approached by other Democrats about potentially challenging Sinema for her seat in the upper chamber. She is up for reelection in 2024.

Punchbowl News reported days later that Gallego had met with some of Sinema’s donors in New York.

Sinema’s office declined to comment when reached by The Hill.

Tags Arizona Background checks Filibuster Gun control Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Pat Toomey Ruben Gallego Ruben Gallego Senate Texas school shooting

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