WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden in an annual meeting with county leaders Tuesday said there is much more work to be done on gun control legislation, such as banning assault-style weapons, which are typically used in the most mass shootings.
The gun control call came again after a school shooting at Michigan State University on Monday in which three students were killed and five others injured. Tuesday also marked the fifth anniversary of the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 14 students and three faculty members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were killed.
“It’s a family’s worst nightmare,” Biden said of the Michigan shooting.
“We have to do something to stop gun violence from tearing our communities apart,” he told attendees at the National Association of Counties conference.
In a statement released before his remarks to county officials, Biden said that in the five years since Parkland and his administration, he has brought Democrats and Republicans together to pass a bipartisan gun safety bill, but needs to be done. moreover.
“I am once again calling on Congress to implement common-sense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating the ‘immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” he said. he said she. “We owe it to all those we have lost and to all those who have been left behind in pain to continue to act.”
In another statement, this one on the Michigan State shooting, he said he had offered Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer any federal assistance needed.
“The fact that this shooting took place the night before this country marks five years since the fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida should cause every American to exclaim ‘enough’ and demand Congress take action,” he has declared. .
County leader in Washington
The National Association of Counties is a nongovernmental organization that represents more than 2,300 counties and provides legislative, research, public relations, and technical assistance to those members.
The organization is wrapping up a five-day conference of workshops and briefings on federal policy affecting local government such as broadband, upcoming farm law, workforce development, public lands, immigration and veterans, among other issues.
Similar to his State of the Union address last week, Biden hinted at his administration’s efforts to combat the fentanyl crisis and the need to allocate more funds for border personnel to intercept the drugs, and mentioned how officials seized more than £23,000 worth of fentanyl.
He also emphasized cutting gas and fuel costs and said his administration would continue to reduce inflation. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates to slow inflation.
The US Department of Labor released its January consumer price index on Tuesday, which measures a broad basket of common goods and services, and reported that inflation rose 0.05%, with rising of housing, gas and fuel costs. The CPI increased by 6.4% compared to the same period in 2022.
“Conversely, the fruit and vegetable index fell 0.5% over the month, while the fresh vegetable index fell 2.3%,” according to the CPI. “The index for dairy and related products was unchanged in January.”
Biden also took aim at Republicans, saying some wanted to cut and end popular social security programs like Social Security and Medicare.
“You may have seen some lively debate in my State of the Union address,” he told attendees, adding that he felt like he was “back in a playground.”
“When I call (Republicans) on this, the State of the Union, it sounded like they were in agreement at the time to take those cuts off the table,” he said. “I hope so.”
Republicans have adamantly said they have no plans to cut those programs, but the White House is citing a proposal by Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida to suspend federal programs after five years unless Congress authorizes them.
Biden also acknowledged that he shares concerns with counties about the issue of the debt ceiling in Congress and how it could affect their budgets. The question is how a divided Congress will deal with the nation’s debt ceiling, known as the debt limit. Congress has until the summer to address it.
“Indeed, even approaching default will increase borrowing costs (and) make it more difficult to finance key projects in their communities,” Biden said, referring to lawmakers.
Biden said he met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and said he wants to finalize his budget, along with McCarthy’s budget, and reach an agreement and avoid default.
He said he knows there will still be “bumps in the road,” but that overall he’s optimistic about the year ahead as the pieces of legislation that Congress and the administration have worked to pass begin to see implementation in states .
Last year, Biden presented his Build Back Better plan, a massive social spending and climate plan, to NACo members. The Build Back Better plan stalled in Congress, but was later cobbled together in the Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed into law last year.