Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Vote To Advance The Life-Saving Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

June 23, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun safety legislation in thirty years, which Schumer said needs to be passed before the end of the week. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

As we approach the conclusion of a truly consequential work period, the Senate this morning will take the next major step towards accomplishing something that hasn’t been done in decades: passing a strong gun safety bill.

The bill can be described simply in three adjectives: commonsense; bipartisan; lifesaving.

And if Republicans work with us, we could very well finish the job in its entirety before the day is done.

Later this morning, the Senate will vote to invoke cloture on the Bipartisan Safe Communities Act, and I expect that vote to have robust bipartisan support, just as we saw earlier this week.

We are not going to leave until we pass this bill. After this morning’s vote, it is my intention to work with Republicans to reach an agreement to secure a vote on final passage before the day is out.

As the author of the Brady Bill nearly thirty years ago—the last legislative effort to fight gun violence—I am so pleased that we are at last on the precipice of taking action once again.

It's been a long time, but this breakthrough is welcome.

So I urge my Republican colleagues: let’s get this bill passed and pass it today.

Let’s pass it so we can send it to the House, they can send it to the White House, and the President can sign it. Americans have waited long enough. Let us finish our job today.

As we take the final steps in this process, few could have anticipated we’d reach this point just a few weeks ago.

The morning after the tragedy in Uvalde, the United States Senate faced a choice: we could surrender to gridlock, and we could swiftly vote on a bill with provisions many of us would have wanted but, because of rigid opposition from the other side, had no hope of passing the chamber – it would have failed.

Or, we could choose to try and forge a bipartisan path forward to pass a real bill, as difficult as that may have seemed to many.

Over the past four weeks, we chose to try and get something done. Immediately after Uvalde, I spoke with Senator Murphy, who asked me to give negotiators time and space to do their work. With his deep experience in this area, he believed that given the opportunity, maybe, maybe, maybe these talks could succeed, although, of course there was no guarantee.

I was happy to agree, because I knew that even if there was a chance to get something positive and tangible done on gun safety, it was worth the effort. So I told Senator Murphy I would give him the space he needed.

That quickly became the consensus of our caucus and the consensus of many of our gun safety advocates who pressed us to secure real progress.

Senator Murphy and I called them the day after Uvalde, and they agreed, get something done, even if it wouldn't be everything we would all want.

We were all on the same page: instead of voting on a bill that would fail, we would try and get something real passed in the Senate.

In the end, it was the right decision, because before long we had a bipartisan guns framework.

A week later, we had legislative text. A few days ago, that bill came before the Senate with strong bipartisan votes.

And today, today, we can take the final steps to passing the first major gun safety bill in nearly 30 years.

As I said, this is not a cure-all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation, but it is a long-overdue step in the right direction. It is significant and it is going to save lives. And it is my intention to get it done as soon as we can.

I want to thank all of my Democratic and Republican colleagues for working together to reach this point. And I want to thank the leaders of the effort: Senators Murphy and Sinema; Senators Cornyn and Tillis, as well as all of our colleagues on the bipartisan working group, all of our Chairs and members who contributed their expertise and their leadership in shaping the bill.

I also want to thank every single survivor of gun violence, every family that has spoken up, every advocate that has organized, and every voter and concerned citizen who has pushed this body to take action for so many years.

Even with the holes in their hearts – the loved who were lost through needless, cruel gun violence—so many advocates persisted and persisted and persisted, and without them keeping that candle burning, even in the darkest of moments, we wouldn't have gotten this done.

I salute them. I thank them. America thanks them. And I say to all of them, all the advocates who worked so hard and so long on this: very soon, your efforts will bear fruit.

We are going to keep going until we finish the job. So I urge my colleagues to reach an agreement with us to do precisely that.

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