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Providing for Consideration of H.R. Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, about 10 days ago, something extraordinary happened on this House floor. Members violated the rules, and they sat in.

Some folks asked me the question: ``Peter, why did you do that? Why did you join in that?''

I had to think hard about it because it is not something that should be done in anything close to normal circumstances.

The reason was that, since Newtown, when there have been one mass shooting after another--San Bernardino; Orlando the most recent-- Congress has responded with a moment of silence followed by complete and utter inaction.

Congress is not doing its job. The issue of what gun legislation we should pass is debatable.

Why won't we debate it? Why won't Congress face the fact that the job of Congress is to come up with policies that are going to provide protection to American citizens from this gun violence?

There is legislation out there. Two things that are very sensible: if you are on a terrorist watch list, you can't buy a gun; if you are subject to a background check, you can't evade it by all the loopholes. We should debate those. And then those of our citizens who disagree with us, they can vote against us or they can vote for us.

What we have no right to do is to fail to do our job, so I joined with other Members of Congress sitting here basically saying: Let's debate, let's discuss, but let's act. Let's not run the other way in cowardly disrespect of our responsibilities in the expectation that our citizens who sent us here rightly have that we address the issue of gun violence and be held accountable by them for at least making an effort, honestly, to do the job they have given us to do.


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