This summer, the communities of El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio were devastated by senseless mass shootings. They marked the 249th and 250th mass shooting in 2019 alone, putting our nation on a pace of more than one mass shooting a day on average, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. Words in the face of these tragedies are never enough- Congress must act! That is why, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I immediately held a markup on three lifesaving gun safety bills following these tragedies: the Keep Americans Safe Act, the Disarm Hate Act, and the Extreme Risk Order Protection Act. These bills would ban high capacity ammunition magazines, prohibit individuals convicted of violence misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing a firearm, and help states implement extreme risk order protection laws to prevent those who are a risk to themselves or others from accessing a firearm.
Unfortunately, the Majority in the Senate remains steadfast in their opposition to even voting on the most commonsense gun safety bills. Over 200 days ago, the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Backgrounds Check Act, which would expand background checks to all gun sales. According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, nearly 90% of Americans support expanding background checks, yet the Senate Majority Leader has not called for a single vote on any gun safety bill. This is a reckless way to govern and puts countless lives at risk. It is past time for the Senate and the President to act on H.R. 8, and the numerous other gun safety measures working their way through the House, to prevent gun violence. We owe it to the victims of gun violence and the American people to end this epidemic once and for all.
Fighting the Public Housing Crisis in NYC & Nationwide
In New York City, federal disinvestment in public housing has led to crumbling buildings and unnecessary hardship for tenants. In my view, individuals in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) face immoral conditions- collapsing ceilings, years-long leaks, and broken elevators- that would have resulted in any private landlord having their property seized. This is a crisis that can no longer go ignored. That is why I joined Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez to author the Public Housing Emergency Response Act, which wouldallocate $70 billion for public housing repairs nationwide. Under our proposal, $32 billion would go to NYCHA to ensure our residents have access to affordable housing that won’t jeopardize their health. Safe, affordable housing is a basic right for every American, and I believe it is past time for the federal government to step up to the plate and ensure quality housing for all.
To read more about the Public Housing Emergency Response Act, please click here.
Op-Ed: Listen to the Kids. Climate Change Must Be Addressed.
Last month, I wrote an op-ed in The Villager calling on Congress and the Administration to address the emergency of climate change and to improve our nation's climate resilience. Climate change is real and threatens all of us, regardless of nationality, political party, or economic status. The House Majority has put forward bold proposals to combat this crisis, including the Green New Deal, but the Senate Majority has not voted on any climate change legislation. For the sake of future generations, we need drastic action to affect change, and the federal government must move quickly to tackle the climate crisis head-on.