House Democrats are gearing up for a busy July, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announcing a slew of priorities the caucus is looking to tackle before Congress breaks again for its August recess, including gun reform and abortion access.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to members on Friday, the Maryland Democrat called for lawmakers to continue to press for additional gun reforms in the wake of another mass shooting, this one in Highland Park, Illinois, and he took aim at the Supreme Court for its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and strike down New York’s gun control law.
“The deadly shooting in Highland Park, Illinois — as well as acts of gun violence in other communities that did not make national headlines — underscored again the need to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country, made more dangerous by the Supreme Court’s deeply misguided ruling on concealed-carry weapons,” Hoyer wrote.
“I also remain outraged by the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, which ignored nearly five decades of precedent and overturned Roe v. Wade, criminalizing abortion in many states immediately. The majority of Americans disagreed with this decision, and many are deeply angered — as I am — and are now very worried about what might come next, given Justice Thomas’ statement in his egregious concurring opinion.”
Hoyer stated that leadership plans to bring the Active Shooter Alert Act to the floor in response to the shooting next week, which would “help law enforcement send out AMBER-style alert warnings” during situations with active shooters and called on the Senate to pass legislation enhancing background checks in coming weeks.
Hoyer asserted that the lower chamber will take “swift action” on a China competitiveness bill, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has asserted Republicans will block if Senate Democrats move forward with plans to pass a partisan reconciliation bill to allow for Medicare to negotiate drug prices and unwind parts of the GOP’s landmark tax reform bill, when conferees strike a deal on a compromise bill.
“Enacting this important Make It In America legislation will benefit not only American businesses and workers but also our national security,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer went on to praise Senate Democrats for reviving talks on the reconciliation bill, which appeared dead late last year, with moderate Democrats in the upper chamber raising concerns over the previous broader framework’s impact on inflation.
“In addition to a bipartisan innovation bill, I am encouraged by news that the Senate is making progress toward considering a reconciliation bill that makes health care more affordable, makes significant investment in meeting the challenge of climate crisis, and seeks to bring down the cost of prescription drugs and medical care,” he said.
Hoyer asserted that the lower chamber will also bring up legislation aimed at codifying Roe and legislation aimed at easing the process for women to cross state lines to obtain an abortion.
“Leadership will continue working closely with committees and Members to determine what additional legislative responses are needed to respond to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision and protect the rights, health, and safety of Americans under a Court determined to ignore precedent and eager to legislate,” he said.
The House is also slated to move on the annual National Defense Authorization Act and advance a slew of appropriations bills.
“We have a robust Floor schedule throughout July that includes NDAA and appropriation bills, so Members should expect votes earlier in the day and later into the evenings,” he said.
Hoyer also noted that the Jan. 6 select committee will continue its hearings investigating the deadly attack on the Capitol in the coming weeks.
“Our Majority will continue to protect our democracy and work For the People, undaunted by the actions of the Supreme Court or the obstruction of Republicans who offer not solutions but only an exacerbation of our nation’s problems,” Hoyer said. “House Democrats will continue to offer the American people responsible government, commonsense solutions, truth and facts, and results that help our people make it in America.”