- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Trump on Thursday telling him to use his constitutional powers to call Congress into session to and demand it quickly pass new gun controls.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not shown any inclination to cancel the summer vacation and bring senators back. Instead, he has directed key committee chairmen to scout for bipartisan solutions, presumably with an eye to acting later in the fall.

Mrs. Pelosi says there’s “great urgency” to the issue.

“Mr. President, we have an opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to pass gun violence prevention background checks. However, Leader Mitch McConnell, describing himself as the ‘grim reaper,’ has been an obstacle to taking any action,” she wrote in a letter to the president.

She said her missive was a “good faith to request” to urge him to use his powers to recall lawmakers to Washington.

Mr. McConnell on Thursday brushed aside the suggestion that lawmakers rush back to Washington, saying he wants to reach a solution, not get bogged down in political “finger-pointing.”

“We’d just have people scoring political points and nothing would happen,” Mr. McConnell said of the suggestion that immediate action is needed.

In an interview with WHAS, a Louisville, Kentucky, radio station, he repeated his plan to have three committee chairmen explore avenues of cooperation.

“We’re going to have these bipartisan discussions. And when we get back, hopefully, be able to come together and actually pass something,” the Kentucky Republican said. “I want to make a law, not just see this kind of political sparring going on endlessly, which never produces a result.”

Mrs. Pelosi said Mr. Trump reached out to her Thursday and also spoke with Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the top Democrat in the upper chamber. They urged him to try to convince Mr. McConnell to cancel the summer vacation.

They also told him the largely partisan background check bill that cleared the House in February is their focus.

“The president gave us his assurances that he would review the bipartisan House-passed legislation and understood our interest in moving as quickly as possible to help save lives,” the two leaders said in a joint statement.

Bringing Congress back could be messy.

Some of Mr. McConnell’s GOP troops have said they would be willing to return to Washington to pass bills that do have strong bipartisan support, such as a “red flag” bill that would encourage states to enact laws allowing them to confiscate firearms from people reported by family or law enforcement as immediate threats to themselves or others.

But Democrats have said they will force votes on other proposals, such as attempting to ban some popular types of semiautomatic rifles. Such a ban is unlikely to clear Congress, much less be signed into law by Mr. Trump.

The president has said, however, that he is interested in expanding background checks.

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