Emergency RulesEmergency Rules

Emergency Rules

Besides the usual business before the House, three “Emergency” bills are on this week’s docket

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In response to Mr. Trump’s declaration of “a national emergency to honor an applause line in a rally” and other extraordinary rules, the House will consider three bills this week beyond the scope of its normal docket:

House Joint Resolution 46

H.J.R 46 is exactly 54 words long and fits on a single page. It is quoted here in its entirety:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 (84 Fed. Reg. 4949) is hereby terminated.

By invoking section 202 of the National Emergencies Act, the House will force the Senate to vote on exactly this language in the next 18 days. President Trump has already threatened to veto it but it’s uncertain if Republicans will hold together in opposition to the measure or not.

H.R. 8 — Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019

HR 8 is an extremely brief treatment of the so-called “gun-show loophole” which allows people who could not otherwise pass a background check to buy a firearm from a private seller (a gun-show often features lots of private sellers, thus giving the loophole its name). HR 8 closes the loophole by requiring a background check for nearly every substantive transfer of firearms between non-family members. Reasonable exceptions are carved out for loaned firearms at ranges and basic hunter safety.

HR 8 has a reasonable chance of passing the House but slim odds in the Senate.

H.R. 1112: Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019

Under current law, if a firearms background check fails to complete in three days, it counts as a “pass.” Jim Clayburn’s HR 1122 would lengthen the time allotted for background checks to 10 days and, if the check remains unfinished, count an unfinished check as a “fail” which can be appealed through the Attorney General’s office.

The firearm purchased by Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015, was sold to him due to a failure to complete his background check within three days.

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