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The Villages
Sunday, April 14, 2024

What the Democrats were doing when the cameras weren’t on

Rich Nugent
Rich Nugent

I think it is important that we address something that happened last week …  Around lunchtime on Wednesday (June 22), the Democrats decided to hold a protest in the House. A handful of them took a seat on the floor (literally on the floor) in an unprecedented effort to block the House’s proceedings until they got the gun control votes they wanted. They yelled and chanted and sang songs and spoke solemnly about the victims of gun violence.  And when they thought the cameras were away, they smiled and laughed with each other and sent out fundraising emails. There are many ways to get your point across and move legislation forward. This wasn’t one of them.
I believe there are ways that we can step up our game from a security standpoint while still protecting the rights of innocent Americans all over the country. Many of my colleagues feel this same way as well.  I look forward to this upcoming week when the House will take up the Homeland Safety and Security Act. This legislation will bring new and expanded authority to the Department of Homeland Security to pursue and prioritize radical Islamist terrorism threats within the U.S. It will also place an increased emphasis on weeding out those traveling to and from the States with an affiliation to terrorist networks. Additionally, this bill will revoke U.S. passports of individuals who belong to designated foreign terrorist organizations or have aided, abetted, or provided material support to such an organization.
Last but not least, the final bucket of this legislation states that if you have been on the terror watch list and attempt to buy a gun, law enforcement will be notified. At which point the Attorney General would have the ability to delay the purchase so there is an ability to prevent the firearm transfer if deemed appropriate. In such a case, that individual could petition the decision in court and if they win, the government will be on the hook for any legal feels. That provides the due process component that I think most can agree is needed.
This process may well have been able to prevent the Orlando shooting.
Any longtime readers of this newsletter will know that I don’t mince words when I’m unimpressed with the Republican leadership of the House.  But in this sit-in case, I think they handled it just right.  They patiently let the Democrats have their stunt and after ten hours of shenanigans, they quickly reminded the Democrats that the House is an institution where the majority rules and the majority is elected by the American people.  The House went right on ahead with the pressing business of the day – we passed the remaining Zika funding and the budget bill for the VA and Military Construction.  We brought the bills up and voted them right on through – right over top of the childish screaming from our Democrat colleagues.
Rules, order, system – the House is where democracy is supposed to work its way up in a respectful way. This publicity stunt tried to set a dangerous precedent and we showed them that the precedent wouldn’t stand.  We’re not going to negotiate with hostage takers.  We’re not going to roll over to a slogan.  We’re going to tell people the truth and then we’re going to keep moving forward.
Reasonable people can and will disagree.  But there’s a way to do it respectfully and with a fair and open mind.  They picked the disruptive, disrespectful and disingenuous way. And credit to my colleagues in leadership for directly taking the high road and not surrendering principle while offering a workable solution for the week ahead.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts on this or any other issue.
To close, I just want to wish everyone a very happy and safe Independence Day weekend. Monday marks the 240th anniversary of our nation’s liberty and freedom. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on the fathers and mothers, scholars and scientists, farmers and fighters who got us here. The United States of America is the greatest country in the history of the world. God bless.

U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent represents The Villages in Congress.

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