House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)
(CNSNews.com) – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said in his press briefing on Thursday that the Democrats’ sit-in to protest gun control measures not being brought for a vote was a “stunt” asking, “If this is not a political stunt, then why are they trying to raise money off of this? Off of a tragedy.”
He also explained that the gun-control measure the Democrats want failed in the Senate and in committee on a bipartisan basis because “in this country, we do not take away people’s constitutional rights without due process.” Further, the issue is not gin control but terrorism, he said.
At the press conference, the House Speaker said, “We are not going to allow stunts like this to stop us from carrying out the people’s business. Why do I call this a stunt? Well, because it is one.”
“Let’s just be honest here, here are some facts,” said Ryan. “Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee considered its bill for Homeland Security spending. At the committee, Democrats offered, in committee, an amendment offering the gun measure they say they want. That amendment failed on a bipartisan basis.”
“So, just yesterday, the Democrats offered this gun measure they claim they want, and it failed on a bipartisan basis in committee,” said Ryan.
Ryan was referencing the amendment offered by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) which would allow the attorney general to ban gun sales to suspected terrorists, including those on watch lists, if there is reasonable belief the weapons may be used in an attack.
“There was a vote, it was in the committee through regular order and the vote failed, that’s a fact they didn’t want to talk about,” he continued. “Here’s another one: if Democrats want a vote for a bill on the floor, there’s a way to get one -- it just takes 218 signatures on a petition and then they can have a vote. It is that simple.”
“That’s how the House works,” he explained. “It’s a well-known process. But they’re not doing that, they are not trying actually to get this done through regular order. No, instead they’re staging protests. They’re trying to get on TV.”
“They are sending out fundraising solicitations, like this one,” he said. Ryan held up a fundraising letter from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which asked for donations to help fight “gun violence.”
House Democrats engage in a sit-in
on the House floor. (AP)
Ryan read off some of the suggested donation amounts up to a thousand dollars asking, “If this is not a political stunt, then why are they trying to raise money off of this? Off of a tragedy.”
“Why is it that this bill failed on a bipartisan basis in committee and this bill failed on a bipartisan basis in the Senate?” he asked, “because in this country we do not take away people’s constitutional rights without due process.”
“This is not just Republicans saying this, it’s groups like the ACLU who are saying this. But more to the point: our focus needs to be on confronting radical extremism,” Ryan emphasized. “Terrorism is the issue. Let me say it again, terrorism is the issue, and defeating terrorism is our focus here in the House.”
“We are not going to take away the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans and we’re not going to allow publicity stunts to stop us from doing our job,” he concluded.