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Published: Monday, September 09, 2019 @ 4:28 PM
— As the Mayor of Dayton, Ohio made a lobbying blitz at the White House and on Capitol Hill to get action on legislation to address gun violence, there was no real evidence as lawmakers returned to work that anything had changed politically after mass shootings in Dayton, and El Paso, Texas.
"We're meeting with the White House, with anyone who will listen to us, about what this has done to our community," said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, whose city was the site of a mass shooting in early August which killed nine people and wounded over 20 others.
A few hours after six police officers from her city's force were honored at the White House by President Donald Trump, the Mayor joined with top Democrats in a news conference at the U.S. Capitol to appeal for action in the Senate on expanded background checks.
"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.
Here’s a list of mayors attending a staff level meeting at the White House on gun safety. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says she was *not invited to the Medal of Valor Ceremony honoring Dayton officers. We’ve reached out to WH to ask why pic.twitter.com/B8YVMMtOOc— Natalie Brand (@NatalieABrand) September 9, 2019
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.
As Dems call on McConnell to move on guns, the Senate GOP leader opened the chamber but made no mention of gun legislation. “The American people know this is a highly charged political moment but they haven’t sent us here to stage pitch battles or score political points,” he said— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 9, 2019
What courage does it take to pass legislation that will save lives? @SenateMajLdr McConnell must stop standing in the way of efforts to enact commonsense, bipartisan solutions to prevent gun violence.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 9, 2019
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.
Even confronted with reviews like that, Mayor Whaley said she was not going to back down, as she was ready to join with mayors of both parties in more meetings in Washington.