- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The push is on to do something on Capitol Hill in response to the Orlando terror attack, with Democrats stepping up their push for gun controls and Republicans countering Tuesday by vowing to re-pass a series of bills designed to shape an anti-terrorism strategy.

But policy quickly took a back seat to a war of words as GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s reaction to the shooting — blaming President Obama for failing to spot the threat, and revising his own call for a ban on immigration from terrorist-connected countries — deeply divided Washington.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Mr. Trump has disqualified himself from being president, while GOP leaders took a more nuanced approach, saying they don’t support a ban on all Muslim admissions to the U.S., but more needs to be done to screen those coming.

“This is a war with radical Islam. It’s not a war with Islam. Muslims are our partners,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said after meeting with House Republicans.

Both the House and Senate have scheduled closed-door briefings with Mr. Obama’s top domestic security officials to hear more about the Orlando attack and other potential threats.

The House put off action on the homeland security spending bill this week in order to be able to learn lessons from Orlando and incorporate any changes needed.

But in the meantime, Democrats say they’re intent on forcing votes on gun control, saying that while it may be impossible to spot lone-wolf attackers ahead of time, their rampages can be made less lethal if they don’t have access to firearms.

House Republicans rejected that approach, and instead are pushing a package of nine bills that have already cleared their chamber. GOP leaders said they’ll repackage them as a single bill and pass it again, sending it to the Senate where they hope it will receive action.


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