Oversight Committee Blasts Blue Dog Gun Bill « The Washington Independent
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform opened fire on a bill Tuesday that would repeal still-standing Washington gun restrictions. The bill shoots to lift the ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, as well as ending required background checks and registration of firearms– all provisions that the Supreme Court’s reversal of the D.C. gun ban in June did not cover.
Henry A. Waxman, (D-Ca.) chairman of the committee, assailed the bill as “extreme legislation being pushed by the NRA.”
Tom Davis, (R-Va.) the top Republican on the committee, said the bill “abandoned the House’s professed allegiance toward D.C. home rule.”
So who supports the bill besides NRA lobbyists? The answer is conservative Democrats known as “Blue Dogs” . The bill is sponsored by three so-called Blue Dogs– Travis Childers of Mississippi, Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania and Don Cazayoux of Louisiana. The three members are in tight congressional races in traditionally Republican districts. A Washington Post editorial yesterday made the connection. “The only reason this bill has advanced is because the NRA has threatened to withhold endorsements from conservative Democrats in tough races this year,” the Post opined.
But while it’s easy to criticize the NRA, it’s difficult to fight their power. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) has tentatively agreed to hold a floor vote on the bill, with all 47 Blue Dogs in support of the legislation, it has a chance to pass the full House.
It might, however, die in the oversight committee, which is holding a business meeting tomorrow to vote on the bill (the oversight committee has jurisdiction, because they have a subcommittee that focuses exclusively on D.C. issues). Committee member Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s non-voting representative, has proposed alternative legislation that lets D.C. officials make their own revised gun rule.
While the bill’s possible death would be a blow to the NRA, it might not be a big deal to the Blue Dog’s who will still get the gun lobby’s endorsement for advocating on their behalf. Waxman’s harsh words today, though, show how the Blue Dog’s estrangement from their party’s old liberal guard.