- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee tried to use a Tuesday hearing on Social Security representative payees to lament a recent House vote to undo an Obama-era rule designed to get certain beneficiaries’ information into the national gun-purchase background check system.

“Passing this resolution, I think, set us back and will prevent [Social Security] and potentially all other federal agencies from improving reporting to the NICS background check system in the future,” said Rep. John Larson, Connecticut Democrat.

“To pit the disability community against victims of gun violence doesn’t get to the solutions that I know this committee and the Congress as a whole is after,” Mr. Larson said.

The House voted last week to undo a rule finalized in December that would require the Social Security Administration to scour its records for people who are so mentally impaired that their benefit checks are sent to a representative payee. Those people’s records would then be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The House used the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to undo administration rules finalized in the previous 60 days and limits similar language from being included in new rules.



“If you’re found mentally incapable to handle your Social Security business because of x reasons … you can still buy a gun,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, New Jersey Democrat.

Marianna LaCanfora, an acting deputy commissioner at the Social Security Administration, replied that the capability determination only affects the receipt of Social Security benefits and no other aspect of people’s lives.

Republicans said the rule was too broad and infringed on Second Amendment rights, and have generally said that people looking to break the law won’t follow gun controls anyway.

“By far, the super majority of [recent] mass shootings were in gun-free zones saying that you are not allowed by law to have a gun, and numerous people lost their [lives],” said Rep. Jason Smith, Missouri Republican.

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