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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Murray Wyden on School Shooting in Uvalde Texas  CSPAN  May 26, 2022 1:46am-2:01am EDT

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it passed our committee twice unanimously. those parents asked me to come today to please pass this bill, take some action, provide some comfort to all the parents that are grieving, to a nation that is grieving. so i came to the floor today and i will not engaging in partisanship other than to say it is just sad -- it is just sad that this body can't pass this bill when about a month ago they passed an identical bill that applied to churches. this one applies to schools. and, yet, it's inappropriate according to the majority leader to pass this nonpartisan bill by
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unanimous consent. madam president, this is a very sad day foreagues to join me ing to confirm her. madam president, i can't leave the floor of the senate today without talking about the heartbreaking shooting that took place at robb elementary school in texas yesterday. 19 children, 2 teachers at an elementary school. these were kids who were excited for summer, play dates with their friends, murdered by weapons of war. this carnage is happening right here in america in fourth grade classrooms. my heart breaks for the family and loved ones of these kids and their teachers, not to mention the kids and educators who will carry the trauma of that day with them for the rest of their lives. but i am also furious. a lot of people have characterized this tragedy as unthinkable, but at this point this kind of tragedy is not
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unthinkable. parents in washington state and every where else in america think about this all the time. they be about it every day when they drop off their kids at school. how can you not? they thought about it after the shooting in buffalo at a grocery store ten days earlier. they think about it every time there is another mass shooting, which is far, far too often. 3,865 times since the sandy hook school shooting ten years ago, to be exact. what is unthinkable is that every time this happens, nothing changes. every time republicans stand in the way of meaningful action. that's not just unthinkable. it is unacceptable. but we don't have to live like this. this is a solvable problem. republicans need to have the courage, the decency, the basic concern for the lives of
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our kids to work with democrats on commonsense gun safety reforms. they need to decide should school be a place where our kids and teachers feel safe, where they can talk about homework and class projects, where they can be kids and laugh about whatever happened during lunchl or art class? or will they continue to be a place where school shooter drills are as routine as recess or algebra for our kids? i want my colleagues to consider that. what message are you sending to parents and kids, to teachers and students if you won't even allow a debate on commonsense measures like universal background checks? i've heard republican lawmakers talk about the need to have police officers at every school. i wish it were that simple, but we know it's not. we saw yesterday that having an armed officer on site at schools
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will not solve this crisis despite the best efforts of law enforcement. some republicans have suggested arming teachers. are you kidding? can you hear yourself? teachers did not sign up to be soldiers, and guns have no place in our classroom. some republicans will say, well, this is a mental health issue. so let me be clear, america is facing a mental health and substance use disorder crisis. it is serious. it requires urgency, and i'm actively working on bipartisan legislation to expand access to prevention and treatment and recovery services. but i want to make this plain, the majority of people with mental illness do not commit violence against others. treating gun violence as a mental health issue rather than a gun issue will never get us to the root cause of these horrific
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shootings. if we want to really get at the heart of stopping gun violence i beg my colleagues to pull their heads out of the sand and talk about what can stop gun violence, common sense, gun safety legislation and there is no getting around it, universal background checks, an assaults weapon ban. i'm ready to work with any republican to make any kind of progress here. states like mine have made good progress on gun safety measures to keep our communities safe. we cannot rely on a patchwork state laws where it works in one state. we need to get something done. to my constituents in washington state and the american people, i know and understand it can be disheartening to parents around the country to see the continued republican obstruction on gun
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safety in congress. change is not easy. but let me be clear. doing nothing and letting it this continue to happen is the most extreme option on the table. i've come to the floor of the senate countless times to call for action to keep our kids and our families safe from gun violence just to have republicans block our efforts again and again. it is frustrating. it is infuriating, but i will keep pushing for gun safety laws that the majority of americans do support because we cannot give up. that's what the n.r.a. and other extremists want us to do. the vast majority of americans have made clear they want an end to gun violence. and i refuse to let republicans get away with this yet again, to dance around the real issue, to distract us with conversations about arming teachers or tripwires outside elementary
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schools. enough. enough. we need to force republicans to bear witness to the tragic consequences of their inaction. we need people and families across the country to do the same. no one gets to look away. no one gets to change the subject. i promise all of the students and parents, grandparents, teachers, everyone in washington state that despite the obstruction and silence from my republican colleagues, i will not stay quiet and i will keep pushing for change and i really hope the american people will do the same. using our voices and our votes, we can change things. we can hold republicans accountable and we can make progress to end gun violence. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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mr. wyden: mr. president -- the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: it seems they appropriate that senator murray, she and i, i'm chairman of the finance committee, we work together on many issues, and we have seen how damaging the last 24 hours have been to our country. i will speak in a few minutes about a health and human services nomination. but i want to pick up where senator murray left off about guns and specifically talk about the atrocity that took place yesterday in texas. the senators can barely begin to imagine the passion that families in texas are feeling at this moment. they're living every parent pea worst nightmare. this morning around the country millions and millions of parents dropped kids off at school and
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they were fearful. in the country that we all believe is and must continue to be the greatest country on earth, parents drop their kids off at school in fear that a gunman would walk into their classrooms and murder them. let's think about that. and it has been going on for decades -- decades in our country. we can remember the sinking, empty feeling after sandy hook. for a few days there was a glimmer of hope that the senate would do something on a bipartisan basis, but then the other side caved to the gun lobby. congress has done nothing. in response to all this carnage in our schools, in our grocery
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stores, in our churches. mr. president, atrocity after atrocity after atrocity, and yet people still live in fear that their kids are next. they live with hopelessness due to the fact that their elected officials are unwilling to act. mr. president, there are no excuses left. this happened in a state that's flooded with guns. there was armed security at the school and still 19 kids and two teachers are dead. still, their families are broken. no excuses. perhaps that's why i've heard multiple republicans say today, there's nothing you can do to stop the shootings.
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that they're just going to happen. that's the way it is. they're going to happen regardless. i just believe with all my being that's just nonsense and it's ridiculous coming from so many senators who haven't lifted a finger to do anything about the violence. my wife always says i'm a glass halfful guy. i try to be positive trying to bring two sides together, but on this issue i don't know what else to say. the truth is that if we act, then maybe -- maybe it will be possible to prevent another massacre in another school. that should be enough. that should be enough, mr. president. the 100 of us here in the senate are the ones with the power to
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act, not anybody else. it's about us. so senators, we've got a choice. either we can choose to act on moral courage or just let the fear and hopelessness win out. as far as i'm concerned, if you don't have the moral courage to act here on the senate floor, or at least try to prevent more of these massacres, then you ought to hang it up, go home, let somebody else have the >> we discussed policy issues that impact you. coming up as they morning, executive director of united
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america, will talk about proposals to bridge the political divide. on the second anniversary, the murder of george floyd, assistant professor of justice, law and criminology discusses policing and criminal justice in the u.s.. watch washington journal life on thursday. on c-span or on c-span now. our free mobile app. join the discussion with phone calls, text messages and tweet. here is what is coming up on the c-span networks. as 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span the senate arms committee, nato's top general. the committee will focus on the conflict in ukraine, the future of nato and russia among other topics. then live on c-span 2 the senate returns and vote on whether to debate on house passed
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legislation to prevent -- 60 votes are needed. everything is also on c-span.org or on at the freak c-span now video cap -- out. coming up next, an update from texas officials about the mass shooting. president biden signs an executive order aimed at reforming policing practices. fbi director christopher rain testifies about the bureaus 2023 budget request and the texas shooting investigation. news conference on the mass shooting at a school intact. during the briefing, beto o'rourke stood up to confront officials about doing more to prevent mass shootings.

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