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Don't Filibuster Gun Control Legislation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Today, the bodies of this Congress have an opportunity to save lives. In fact, they have an historic moment. They actually have the ability to act for once after a tragedy of the proportions of Newtown, having not acted over the years--after Columbine, the theater in Aurora, the horrific tragedy at Virginia Tech, and many, many others, including that of our colleague in Arizona.

So I am hoping that as we stand here today that the right consciences of those who have the opportunity in the other body to pass sensible gun legislation will do so. In order to aid them, to listen to the voices of the people, 50 Members of the United States House of Representatives have asked for those in the other body not to filibuster any gun legislation, but to have an up-or-down vote. The reason we say that is because of the massive numbers of loss of children, some 80 children who die every month by gunshot, the thousands of teenagers who pick up guns to resolve differences, and the million people who were killed by guns since the assassination of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.

This is a Nation that is gunned, but not safe. The tragedy that happened in my area just a few days ago with the slashing of students by another student at a community college. Just imagine--14 people were injured--if that person had had an assault weapon with multiple rounds, similar to the heinous acts that occurred in Newtown, when 155 rounds were shot in 5 minutes. So I'm hoping that this letter will move those Senators not to filibuster and to let us have an up-or-down vote.

I also rise today to encourage us to do the right thing and to vote ``no'' on the National Labor Relations Board legislation that wants to stop the President from his Presidential authority, and that is to make sure that the government runs by appointing people to the NLRB through recess appointments, among others, just like President George Bush did 140 times, to make recess appointments to be able to move the government forward. In contrast to the D.C. Court of Appeals decision that ruled that our President cannot, three other decisions and other court decisions said you can.

We need to vote ``no'' on this legislation. It is destructive, it is only to stall government, and it is only to stop the work of the NLRB, where workers and corporations come together to solve their problems.

What we should be doing is working to create jobs. That's what Americans want us to do. They want us to make it in America. They want us to build up manufacturing. They want us to create and pass legislation, as we introduced yesterday with whip HOYER, 38 pieces of legislation that we all are joining to support to create jobs.

One thing they don't want us to do is to pass anything with a chained CPI on Social Security because Social Security is solvent. Those people are not the fault of any deficit or any debt; they are hardworking people. I will not ever vote for a chained CPI. And I am not a whiner.

I, frankly, see those people in my district who are supported by Social Security and Medicare, which they earn because they work for it. They did not have it as a handout, because seniors are important and seniors believe in young people. We should protect our seniors; we should invest in education.

I salute the President for his early pre-K initiative, that every child should have the opportunity to be in a pre-K program, supporting our teachers. So here we are; this is what we should be doing. We should be promoting job creation to bring down unemployment and to, in fact, get those who are underemployed and those who have completely gone out of the marketplace. They can be hired, they have skills, including our disabled.

Then we should continue to invest in education, including higher education, making it easier for parents to get the Parent PLUS Loans to send their children to college and putting the burden on colleges to make sure that these young people finish college and not go in and get debt and, therefore, come out with a large debt and no degree.

This is what America is about, investing in young people, protecting our seniors, and realizing that the chained CPI is not the way to go on Social Security. It's to save it because they earned it.

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