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tv   Washington Journal Mike Lillis  CSPAN  September 9, 2019 1:45pm-2:00pm EDT

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kelly who writes, today congress returns. it is time for senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to do his job and address the public health epidemic of gun violence by starting with bringing h.r. 8 to the senate -- floor of the senate today. the house judiciary committee will be working on gun violence legislation tomorrow starting at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. you can also watch that online at or listen live with the free c-span radio app. e hill, senior reporter, here to talk about congress returning from the august break. let's start with the brick itself. any significant changes when legislators were back in their districts and how does that translate to coming back to work today? guest: all of these mass shootings had began just after they had gone home and that drove the debate are a couple weeks and democrats hope that momentum, something that can be
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done legislatively will be done in september. all of that ball is up in the draftedls are being with some markups, but the wildcard is what is mitch mcconnell going to bring to the floor? he made it clear he is not going to bring anything up to a vote without president trump support. trump has been all over the board. you go back to decades and two weeks, he seems to contradict himself on what he supports. he used to support assault weapons bans and background checks and all of these things, and sometimes he says he does not support those things anymore and seems to be adopting an ra points, claiming mental health and violent video games and all of these things. the white house is putting together a package on all of these things. we will have to see what will be in there. democrats will say that is insufficient and of course nancy pelosi and house democrats have passed a background check bill and they are trying to keep the
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pressure to bring it up for a vote. if it does come up for a vote, pelosi and charles schumer another letter to mcconnell. they will have hearings and press conferences on all of this stuff this week, really amplifying that message but mcconnell is not going to do anything unless donald trump supports it. the wildcard is going to be the president. mcconnelltor receiving one letter to advocate for the bill. can you expand on what it is? guest: it is a universal expansion of background checks before you buy a gun. if you go to a federally licensed gun dealer, walmart, any major gun store, something like that, they will run your name through an fbi database. they have been doing this since 1994. this was the brady bill. just to check and see if you are a prohibited buyer.
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that means felons and domestic abusers and those who have been adjudicated to be severely mentally ill, illegal immigrants, those on the lam. categories of people who are not permitted to buy a gun. that is federally licensed dealers. for those just selling on the internet or at a gun show or something like that and are not federally licensed, there is no screening. there is the loophole. if i am a felon, i will not trying to go to walmart, i can just go to a gun show or online and buy a gun. that is the loophole that hra would close. everybody has to go through this screening process. what we saw in odessa a few weeks ago was a suspect who had failed a federally licensed background check in 2014 in texas, but for this particular shooting was able to buy one from a private seller and of
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course he killed seven people. the democrats will highlight that tragedy. you mentioned walmart, a story last week you had on the hill, walmart's decision on guns and ammo in certain places. does that have a nice way and how legislators might make their decisions? guest: certainly, or at least that is the hope of gun reform supporters. they believe corporate america getting behind these things will change the dialogue. even if it does not mean immediate passage of these bills, it is changing the culture and the conversation. things have shifted over this month. it is not just walmart. it was a long list of corporations turning to take internal steps. at the same time, pushing congress to do something. the victims and advocates have not had a lot of sway on capitol hill. nothing has been done on guns for decades. democrats are hoping that
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corporations have a little more voice. couple of these shootings have happened in texas and what you saw last weekend -- was theant lieutenant governor coming out for background checks. he had an a plus rating from the nra and the nra really came after him. a lot of public pressure. credit toe too much these corporations were trying to do this stuff because i think they are worried about their bottom line and what it that going to do. is not going to turn off the second amendment folks and are they going to boycott? you saw addicts after the portland shooting -- up the parkland shooting stop selling guns and there was all of this warning, you're really going to take a hit and instead their overall sales increased across the country. i think other corporations like walmart look at that and say if there is no financial risk, then
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we might as well do it because it is good pr. host: mike lillis from the hill joining us. if you want to ask some questions about congress, (202)-748-8000 for democrats, republicans, (202)-748-8001. it is (202)-748-8002 for independents. a lot of activity last week. could you spell out what happens on that front? guest: the big thing that happens is in the judiciary committee that has jurisdiction over impeachment. jerry nadler who has been around forever, a constitutional law expert, seems to be well-positioned to be the presiding guy on this issue. there has been all of this talk, are we doing impeachment, are we not? a lot of outlets out there including our newspaper keeping these lists of democrats who ours -- you are supporting -- who are supporting impeachment.
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they are playing this game, the semantics game where they are saying we are in an impeachment inquiry, but we are not going to vote on anything to do so and that is a change from the impeachment inquiries of the past, watergate and surrounding bill clinton in the late 90's where they did have a vote to launch this process. nadler says we don't need to have an official process because the republicans changed the rules of the judiciary committee a few years back. we don't need to vote. they are trying to protect the centrist democrats who are in vulnerable conservative leaning seats. they are trying to play it both ways, using impeachment as a tool to get some information from the courts. they are saying all of these investigations now, the subtext is do we want to bring impeachment articles?
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hoping the courts will side with them & some of these documents to compel testimony. on wednesday the judiciary committee is going to pass a series of rules that will govern all of these investigations. closer too be inching that impeachment inquiry, something more formal on the impeachment front. these new rules will allow staff and witnesses and things like that. it will broaden the scope of things to conduct these investigations which are all kind of tied up in the courts because the white house has not been cooperative. host: we have seen speaker pelosi be hesitant on this topic. does that mean then, she has given her blessing to jerry nadler's approach? guest: yes. the semantic part of it is you can call it an impeachment investigation, and impeachment
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inquiry, and you can use this language in these court documents that you are filing, but we will not bring a vote on that until the public is on board. in the latest poll across the country that supports this. nancy pelosi was around during watergate and she was on capitol hill during the clinton impeachment. she knows this is not go anywhere without public support -- this doesn't go anywhere without public support. if this isn't bipartisan, it doesn't go anywhere and could just hurt vulnerable democrats. she wants to keep the house in 2020, that is her number one goal. aggressive oversight over the white house but she does not want to go too far. host: comedy democrats are currently behind -- how many democrats are currently behind impeachment? even our list is just one long list and we try to bring out some of the nuance in their
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comments but some people want to impeach trump yesterday. some have already drafted the articles. that is a small minority of the democrats who think we are there already. there is another group who does not want to bring a vote on an inquiry because they think that would give the democrats more legal tools to govern their investigation and get to the bottom of some of these things. then there is a third group that is behind nadler that says we are fine calling it an impeachment investigation but let's just continue to investigate. we don't need to vote. if we find something that is impeachable down the line, that is when we will start drafting articles. then there are those who don't want to talk about it, those in the red districts who don't want to go back and have to explain to voters who are accusing them of just being on a witch hunt and trying to overturn a president. host: we have some calls for you. pennsylvania,
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carol is on with mike lillis from the hill. caller: i would like to go back a little bit to the gun legislation. it is my understanding that there is no central databank for any of the gun registration law itself, preventing a central databank and that there are files and boxes and that the police when they are looking after information, sometimes it takes days and weeks to get the information. is that true and do you think congress would do anything to change that? guest: a good question. it is true that there is no federally mandated registration of firearms when you buy them. what they do have is a list of prohibited buyers that is being run by the fbi. they do not have a list of those
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who own guns, have a list of those who cannot own guns but it is incomplete. it is difficult to gauge because every state has a different set of laws, some are very aggressive in going after guns and some states require registration. from a federal standpoint there is nothing that requires gun owners to register. that is something that the nra has opposed for many years and republicans on capitol hill would never go there -- go for that. host: this is kenny on our democrats line. caller: hello. i was wondering, has there been arediscussion -- here we going on the third year of the trump administration. $7.25 minimum wage and 11 years later, the federal looking for, i am them to get back to discussing greatness.
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i don't know where we are on that. guest: good question. the answer is the house passed its bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. that passed earlier in the year. they sent into the senate and it is not going anywhere in the senate. not a popular idea with mitch mcconnell and republican leaders. it is one of those messaging bills that pelosi and house democrats are leaning on, heading into 2020. it is one of those issues that pulls very well, but the democrats have not found a lot of traction or support on the others of the aisle. until it has that, it is not going to go anywhere. host: another topic that congress considers this week, spending. 21 days until money for the federal government operation runs out. what has to happen before then? guest: they hopped a big hurdle in july. trump signed this big budget deal into law in august and this
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set the stage for them to prevent a government shutdown on october 1. the two-year deal was a big deal to get this done because this is the type of thing that could really snarl the entire process. they raised the caps, prevented automatic spending cuts. above what that previously passed cap would have instated. it also raise the debt ceiling for two years and takes us beyond the 2020 presidential election. both enormous steps for them to prevent a shutdown. what they haven't done is actually fund the government. but is step one, >> you can watch all of oiler programs online at the house is about to gavel back in following the summer recess. today working on a number of energy efficientcy bills.


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