“White House Sends Jared Kushner To Meet With Top Senators On Improving The Criminal Justice System,” BuzzFeed.
‘Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, has been dispatched by the White House to discuss criminal justice reform issues with key senators, BuzzFeed News has learned. Kushner met with Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin on Capitol Hill Thursday.’
Again, let’s just stop for a second and consider the fact that the person described by himself as “first among equals” in the White House has been given the lead on U.S. relations with Canada, Mexico, China and the Middle East, has also been asked to run a White House Office of American Innovation, and will now also apparently be running point on improving the criminal justice system. This is a person whose prior background suggests no particular competence in any of these areas of government. His only qualification for White House service appears to be that he married well.
Kushner is barely old enough to run for president, has no experience in public service, has never shown any interest in public service, and is set to make decisions and influence policies that will affect all Americans.
…three Republican members of the Senate Committee for the Judiciary – the people holding up President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee – are up for re-election: Chuck Grassley (Iowa) Mike Lee (Utah) David Vitter (Louisiana)
They blocked the Democratic proposals - and also the GOP-suggested counter-proposals.
► An amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein,
D-Calif., would allow the attorney general to deny a gun sale to anyone
if she has a “reasonable belief” — a lesser standard than “probable
cause” — that the buyer was likely to engage in terrorism. The proposal
is popularly known as the “no-fly, no-buy” amendment, but wouldn’t just
apply to people on the “no fly” terrorist watch list.
► An Republican alternative by Sen. John Cornyn,
R-Texas, which would require that law enforcement be alerted when
anyone on the terror watch list attempts to buy a weapon from a licensed
dealer. If the buyer has been investigated for terrorism within the
past five years, the attorney general could block a sale for up to three
days while a court reviews the sale.
► An amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley,
R-Iowa, would make it more difficult to add mentally ill people to the
background check database, giving people suspected of serious mental
illness a process to challenge that determination.
► An amendment by Sen. Chris Murphy,
D-Conn., that would close the “gun show loophole” by requiring every
gun purchaser to undergo a background check, and to expand the
background check database.
The GOP basically said “yeah, if someone’s a suspected terrorist, they STILL should be allowed to buy guns, because hey, it’s not like we worry about terrorists in this country, right? And hey, nobody would go to a gun show if they knew they shouldn’t have guns in their possession, no need to make them wait while they get checked out…
Four new gun control measures proposed in the wake of a 14-hour Senate filibuster failed on Monday.
The proposals, including to expand background checks and put new limits on gun buyers who are on the so-called “no fly list,” were rejected one week after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history in Orlando, Florida, where gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people.
Before the vote, Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut who pushed heavily for new gun restrictions, addressed the floor.
“This body was going to ignore what happened in Orlando last week. We were going to pretend like it didn’t happen,” he said, playing up the significance of his coalition’s holding of the Senate floor last week to force a vote on the gun control issue.
While getting any legislation through had been considered a long shot, “we are at least going to get to see where people stand,” Murphy added.
Murphy also called out his Republican colleagues, senators Chuck Grassley and John Cornyn, describing their proposals “just shields…for members who don’t want to stand up and do the right thing.”
Grassley’s proposal would have increased funds to the federal background check system, but not expand them to include all gun purchases. Cornyn’s proposal would give the Justice Department 72 hours to seek a court order delaying someone on the “no-fly list” from buying a gun. Both failed on a vote of 53 to 47, failing to get the 60 needed to pass.
Murphy’s proposal to expand background checks by also requiring them at gun shows failed 4 votes shy of 60.
Finally, a proposal by California Senator Dianne Feinstein to block gun sales to people on the “no-fly” list suspected of being engaged in or planning a terrorist act — endorsed by the Justice Department after last week’s filibuster — failed on a vote of 47 in favor to 53 against.
The gun control proposals were amendments to the annual spending bill that funds the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies.
Other supporters of new gun legislation reacted with anguish at the Senate voting down all the proposals.
John Feinblatt, president of activist group Everytown For Gun Safety, said in a statement:
“Tonight, far too many senators once again fell for the NRA’s games instead of standing up for public safety and national security. Congress has an obligation to get its work done and help protect Americans from gun violence – rather than try to protect gun lobby politicians in an election year.
This week, we saw gun sense champions change the political calculus and force a vote in the Senate. That calculus is changing across the country as well – and together, the American people will be voting on this issue in November.”
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said senators should be ashamed for protecting “the rights of terrorists and other dangerous people to buy guns.”
“The Brady Campaign will expose these politicians for who they really are and call out their failure to disarm hate in America,” he said.
Here is Murphy’s full statement:
“Today’s votes would never have occurred were it not for the loud voices of the American people echoing through the halls of the Capitol last week. After the deadliest shooting in American history, Senate Republicans weren’t even going to discuss, let alone vote on, measures to stop this endless mass murder enveloping our country. So on Wednesday, I took a stand with nearly 40 of my colleagues to demand that Congress do something – anything – to stop the slaughter of innocent victims of gun violence. Millions of Americans engaged in the debate and made their voices heard.
“I’m disappointed by the results tonight, but far from surprised. We knew breaking the NRA’s stranglehold on this Congress would be a long, uphill climb. The fact is Americans want a background check system that prevents dangerous people and terrorists from getting their hands on guns. It will take time, but I firmly believe that our democracy does not allow a Congress to be this far out-of-step with the views and values of the people for very long. This country is rising up to demand stronger, safer gun laws, and in the fact of unspeakable tragedy, our movement for change got stronger this week.”
Sen. Cory Booker said: “I am frustrated, but I, like my fellow Senators standing here right now, will not let this finite defeat undermine our infinite determination to close these gaping loopholes. We may have lost today, but we will not give up.”