"Few events in my lifetime have emotionally roiled the Nation -- all of us -- as deeply as have the senseless killings last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. Wrenching images and personal stories that spilled out from that tragedy have forever been imprinted on our collective memories.
"In my family, and I know in families from coast to coast, parents called their children. Brothers called sisters. Neighbors reached out to neighbors. Over the weekend and again today, in discussions across church pews, on the sidewalk, in the grocery line, at the worksite and in our offices, we all have struggled for words to describe our feelings of shock and immeasurable sadness.
"Last night President Obama gave voice -- our voice -- to let these stricken families know how deeply we want to help relieve their suffering, as we share, through the small ways we can, in their grief.
"Many questions about this unspeakable tragedy have yet to be answered.
"As the President has pointed out, it is unlikely that any single step, or package of steps, can erase the chance of such a tragedy happening again. We know that sometimes things happen that are beyond understanding. We also know that situations vary widely from state to state and from community to community. But we must take on the responsibility of searching for answers.
"Congress can and should be part of this national discussion and search for answers. The Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing early in the next congressional session to help in the search for understanding and answers. I expect that other committees will also take part in this national discussion.
"If there are practical, sensible, workable answers to prevent such unspeakable tragedy, we should make the effort to find them."