• No headway in Congress for Democratic call for action on guns

    By: Jamie Dupree

    Updated:

    As lawmakers in the Congress returned to work from a summer break on Monday, there was no evidence that a pair of high profile mass shootings in Texas and Ohio had changed any of the political dynamics in the House and Senate on the issue of legislation dealing with guns, even as Democrats vowed to keep fighting for change.

    "We're meeting with the White House, with anyone who will listen to us, about what this has done to our community," said the Mayor of Dayton, Ohio, Nan Whaley, whose city was the site of a mass shooting in early August which killed nine people and wounded over 20 others.

    "There's an urgency about getting common sense reform gun legislation through the Senate," Whaley said, as Democrats pressed for a vote on a bill approved by the House early this year, which would require background checks on all private gun sales.

    But as the Senate reconvened on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made no mention of the gun issue, as he has made clear no action will be taken on guns unless President Trump is fully on board.

    "We're not going away," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    But while Pelosi controls the levers of power - and the schedule in the House - Republicans are in charge in the Senate, and that means no action at this point on gun legislation.

    GOP Senators are also very wary about moving forward because of what they've seen from President Trump - where one day he seems to endorse one idea on guns, and then later backs away from it, sometimes leaving Republicans out on a limb.

    Behind the scenes, talks have been continuing between Democrats and the White House.  

    But a key Democratic Senator made clear on Monday that no deal seemed to be within reach.

    “Background checks talks continue with the White House, but the clock is ticking,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). 

    “I'm willing to compromise - lives are at stake - but If we don't make progress this week, I fear that it's going to be Groundhog Day all over again,” Murphy added.

    “We need an up or down vote,” Mayor Whaley said about the Senate on background checks for all private gun sales.

    For now, though, there was no sign that was going to happen.

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