Tension increased on Capitol Hill this week as it became clearer that Congress would not take any action after another fatal school shooting. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) on Thursday showed no signs that Republicans would move on any firearm measures in response to the shooter at a Nashville private school who killed three 9-year-old students and three adults on Monday. "I don't think one piece of legislation solves this. I think a nation together, working together, solves a problem that's much bigger than us,” McCarthy said. Asked about Nashville, McCarthy played down the impact of legislative fixes in addressing mass shootings and said the nation must deal with mental illness, according to Roll Call. Democrats, who called on Republicans to hold floor votes on bills that would ban assault weapons, indicated they did not have immediate plans to pursue a discharge petition that would force such a vote. “We haven't made any decisions one way or the other with respect to a particular legislative approach,” said Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York. “But we are going to continue to make it clear that Congress must act.”
In the Senate, an extended floor debate Thursday between Connecticut Democrat Christopher Murphy and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz laid bare the partisan fault lines. Murphy, a longtime voice for tougher gun laws, blocked unanimous consent requests from Cruz on bills related to school security. Cruz said one measure would commit $15 billion to add law enforcement officers at schools and another would allow schools to spend COVID-related money on school security. The proposals, Murphy said, were not serious attempts to make children safer. He called one “ham-handed” and said there were brackets and question marks in the text. “They're going to get a lot of clicks online,” Murphy said. “The confrontation that he's looking for will probably lead to a bunch of cable news appearances being booked, but it's not going to save any kids' lives.” Cruz said Democrats simply react to mass shootings by wanting another gun control bill to disarm law-abiding citizens.