Congress

Pelosi pushes for gun violence research in stalled spending bill

From left, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., talks with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., as Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah, talks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, after Ryan signed legislation that changes how the nation's public schools are evaluated, rewriting the landmark No Child Left Behind education law of 2002.
From left, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., talks with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., as Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah, talks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, after Ryan signed legislation that changes how the nation's public schools are evaluated, rewriting the landmark No Child Left Behind education law of 2002. AP

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday called for the lifting of a decades-old ban on federal research into gun violence, adding another potential complication to the slow-moving negotiations of a must-pass $1.1 trillion government spending bill.

Pelosi, D-Calif., used a Capitol Hill event commemorating the third anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to call for ending the ban that was implemented by a Republican-controlled Congress in 1997.

“With 30,000 gun deaths every year, America is in the middle of a public health epidemic,” Pelosi said. “Therefore, I call on the omnibus negotiators to remove the outrageous ban on federal research on gun violence.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., when asked about Pelosi’s demand, told reporters “I’m not going to negotiate current negotiations through the media.”

Republican and Democratic negotiators have been struggling to forge a $1.1 trillion spending deal to keep the federal government functioning.

Lawmakers were faced with a Dec. 11 deadline to fund the government or face a partial shutdown of agencies and services. But the Senate Thursday passed a continuing resolution - or CR - to keep the government funded until midnight on Dec. 16 to give negotiators more time to work out their differences. The House is expected to vote Friday on a similar measure sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky.

Talks on the omnibus spending bill have moved at a glacial pace as Democrats and Republicans spar over an array of issues, including whether language restricting the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, environmental policy and other key issues will be included in the massive spending bill.

Congressional Democrats have pressed for tougher gun control laws in the aftermath of last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 people dead.

House Democrats unsuccessfully tried to force the Republican-controlled chamber to vote this week on a bill sponsored b Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., that would prevent people on the airline no-fly list from buying guns.

The ban on federal gun violence research stems from a 1997 appropriations bill that stated “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas

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