National Press Club

Cummings wants Congress back early to address gun violence

August 7, 2019 | By Michelle Amber |

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, spoke at an Aug. 7 National Press Club Headliners luncheon.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, spoke at an Aug. 7 National Press Club Headliners luncheon.

Photo/Image: Cheriss May

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md, called on Congress to return early from its August recess and convene a session on gun violence in response to the latest mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Speaking at a National Press Club Headliners luncheon Wednesday, Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said, “Gun violence seems to know no bounds. The American people are begging us for more than thoughts and prayers. They want action.”

People are dying, he said, adding that they are afraid to go shopping or even go to the movies. People want to live in a country where their kids are safe going to the mall, to Walmart, and to school. He added that Congress has the responsibility to do whatever is necessary to save lives.

Cummings called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, to bring legislation passed by the House to the Senate floor for a vote and on to President Donald Trump for his signature. The legislation includes expansion of background checks for gun buyers.

Cummings said he is not persuaded by talk in recent days by Republicans about new gun safety bills.

“You have a lot of talk. But in the end, nothing happens. They will make these glorious statements,” he said. “But they know there will be no repercussions because the president has their back” and McConnell has Trump’s back, he said.

While not addressing Trump by name, Cummings called for “those in the highest levels of the government” to “stop invoking fear, using racist language, and encouraging reprehensible behavior. It only creates more division amongst us,” he said. He added that rarely a week goes by without him receiving a death threat for just doing his job.

Cummings dismissed as"distractions" numerous tweets and comments critical of him, his Baltimore home town and his district, which the president called “rat and rodent infected.”

“I want President Trump to come to my district,” he said, adding he has not been able to reach the president to invite him. “I want him to come and look at my entire city. I’ll ride with him for hours if he asked to. I want him to see all the wonderful things that are happening.”

He said that his district is diverse and includes “the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor.”

In defending his constituents, Cummings said there are thousands of people who are working hard every day. Others are tutoring children and coaching sports teams to help “children reach their destinies.”

When asked about whether he favors impeachment of Trump, Cummings replied that the “time for impeachment may come” but for now he is taking guidance from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “The day that any administration disobeys a court order, I am for impeachment."