Politics: Senate budget bill omits $50 million for gun violence study favored by Democrats - PressFrom - US
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PoliticsSenate budget bill omits $50 million for gun violence study favored by Democrats

05:55  19 september  2019
05:55  19 september  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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Roy Blunt’s subcommittee, omits $ 50 million for gun violence research that House Democrats included in their budget earlier this year. The House passed a budget in July that would steer million each to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and

House Democrats on Monday set aside $ 50 million in their initial labor, health and education bill to study gun violence , ending a 20-year The CDC previously warned it is unable to produce meaningful gun violence research without substantial budgets , according to an agency spokesman.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans are pursuing a federal health budget that omits funding for gun violence research, a proposal that Sen. Roy Blunt warns is too “controversial.”

Senate budget bill omits $50 million for gun violence study favored by Democrats© Douglas Christian/Zuma Press/TNS Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) at a Senate Intelligence hearing on January 29, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The House passed a budget in July that would steer $25 million each to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “better understand and prevent injury and death as a result of firearm violence.” It would be the first time Congress specifically designated money for this purpose since the 1990s.

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Democrats in the House of Representatives recently approved the allocating of $ 50 million to study gun violence . The CDC is allowed to study gun violence outlined in a budget deal from March 2018 as long as it doesn’t promote gun control, but spending provisions have effected such research.

House Democrats on Monday set aside $ 50 million in their initial labor, health and education bill to study gun violence . “The idea behind the $ 50 million in research funding is to have medical professionals apply tools they developed to study cancer, heart disease and other diseases and use

Blunt, R-Mo., chairs the Senate subcommittee that oversees budgeting for health-related agencies. The proposed research funding was noticeably absent when the panel released its version of the bill Wednesday.

“It’s clearly controversial,” Blunt said in an interview last week.

The dispute over the proposed funding, a small portion of the overall federal budget, demonstrates the gap between the two parties as pressure mounts for Congress to act in the wake of a summer plagued by gun violence.

Rep. Sharice Davids, a freshman Democrat from Kansas, touted the funding in the House bill last month at a roundtable on gun violence in Overland Park.

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In another sign of newfound lawmaker willingness to buck the now badly wounded National Rifle Association, House Democrats have revealed a new appropriations bill that provides $ 50 million in funds for studies on preventing gun violence .

House Democrats on Monday proposed $ 50 million in funding for federal agencies to study gun If passed, it would mark the first time in more than 20 years that the spending bill has included funding But now that the Democrats are back in the House majority, they have left the amendment in place in

“If we just run around passing laws that don’t get to the root of the problem, then we haven’t met our objective, which is to reduce the number of gun deaths in this country,” Davids told attendees.

“Congress has the power of the purse. We are working on trying to ensure those funds are available to study the problem, so we can use evidence-based solutions to what we’re seeing.”

Blunt has argued that specifically designating federal dollars for gun violence research is unnecessary because NIH already has the power to study the issue if it chooses. The Senate bill provides a $3 billion funding increase for NIH, a federal medical research agency.

“They are doing gun violence research now. They can do it if they decide they want to,” Blunt said Wednesday, adding that specifically designating funds for gun research “would create a problem for a number of members.”

Blunt’s son, former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, sits on the board of the National Rifle Association.

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House Democrats on Monday set aside $ 50 million in their initial labor, health and education bill to study gun violence , ending a 20-year Democrats have lobbied for such funding since that time. Gun control advocates, including the gun -lobbying organization Giffords, praised the move.

A Senate spending panel today released a draft 2020 spending bill containing a hefty billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that But the Senate legislation does not contain million in new NIH funding for firearm injury prevention research that the Democrat -led House

Blunt predicted that the research money will be a sticking point in budget negotiations, but he said the issue will be resolvable. He noted that it’s only a small fraction of the funding differences between the Senate and House versions of the budget bills.

The Senate bill proposes nearly $188 billion in discretionary funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education. The House version provides more than $200 billion.

“The House bill is like $14 billion higher than last year. We’re never going to get there,” Blunt said.

The Senate fell nine votes short Wednesday afternoon of the 60 votes needed to move forward with Blunt’s bill and three other budget measures, which will delay the showdown between the two chambers for now.

The research funding is part of a broader effort by House Democrats to use their majority to place a focus on gun policy.

Earlier in the year, the House passed a bill to close loopholes by requiring background checks for guns sold at gun shows and between friends. The proposal has gotten little traction in the GOP-controlled Senate.

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The $ 50 million earmarked by the House still needs to be approved in the Senate —and that’s a big obstacle. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has tried While even Republicans, chiefly among them McConnell, have resisted these calls up until now, Democrats are hoping the midterm election

In one swoop, a new $ 50 million initiative to boost funding for gun violence research is poised to eclipse the federal government’s meager efforts to understand the epidemic. Experts in the field say the fund, created by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

“It is lying on the desk of Mitch McConnell. Take a vote,” said Judy Sherry, head of the Kansas City-based group Grandparents Against Gun Violence. “Debate it. What are they afraid of?”

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, argued on the Senate floor Wednesday that the House bill would not have prevented the mass shootings this summer in El Paso, Midland and Odessa.

“Is this about virtue signaling?” Cornyn said, noting that President Donald Trump has promised to veto the bill.

Despite their hesitance toward the Democratic bill, Trump’s administration and Republican senators have begun discussions about alternatives.

Attorney General William Barr traveled to Capitol Hill Tuesday to meet with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., among other lawmakers, about possible gun legislation.

“No. 1, the proposal to get my support needs to actually keep guns out of the hands of criminals. No. 2, it needs to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and the mentally unstable. No. 3, it needs to protect the constitutional — it is a constitutional right of law abiding citizens,” Hawley said. “No. 4, it actually needs to work.”

Hawley said Barr presented him with the White House’s starting ideas that he is still in the process of evaluating.

“My question was is this something the president’s going to support … I don’t think there was an answer to that,” he said.

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The idea behind the $ 50 million in research funding is to have medical professionals apply tools they developed to study cancer, heart disease and other diseases and use them to study crime, accidental death and suicide. But to state the obvious, gun violence and diseases are two very different things.

House Democratic appropriators are allocating $ 50 million to study gun violence , aiming to accelerate research that had been effectively off-limits at the CDC for more than two decades. The House Labor-HHS-Education fiscal 2020 funding bill unveiled this afternoon provides million to

Hawley said that he’d be concerned about anything that would push the U.S. toward a national registry on guns.

Barr returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday for additional meetings with lawmakers.

“I’m up here just kicking around some ideas, getting perspectives, so I can be in a better position to advise the president. The president has made no decision yet,” Barr told reporters. “There are a number of different proposals being considered.”

The White House’s push for legislation comes as pressure is building — even in states with traditionally strong gun cultures — for some federal response to the violence.

Last month at a town hall in Topeka, Kan., Republican Rep. Steve Watkins faced an array of questions about his votes against the background check bill and a version of the Violence Against Women Act, which was opposed by the NRA because of strengthened restrictions on gun ownership for people convicted of stalking or domestic abuse.

“It was full of poison pills,” Watkins told an attendee who asked about his vote.

As Republicans contemplate a response that will satisfy moderate voters without alienating conservatives wary of new gun restrictions, House Democrats are pursuing additional legislation to strengthen regulations at both the local and federal level.

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(The Kansas City Star’s Glenn Rice, Wichita Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman and McClatchy’s David Lightman contributed to this report.)

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©2019 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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