House Republican whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Said Wednesday that Democrats in the House's judicial committee refused to let him testify during a gun-pistol hearing about his experience as a victim of the congressional baseball bash shoots two years ago. The move confused his fellow Republicans.
Scalise told Fox News that he found out at the weekend that Democrats had chosen not to allow his testimony at the hearing – "Prevention of Violence: A Call to Action" – something he said is a courtesy traditionally extended to anyone legislature wishing to speak.
SCALISE: DEMOCRATES DO NOT WANT YOU TO HEAR WHAT TO SAY ABOUT GUNS AND THE OTHER CHANGE
"I thought it scandalous that they would try to whistle this message, for in the end I will still get My message out. They can't whit this problem, "he said.
Scalise was shot and wounded in June 201
"I was surprised because it is unprecedented," he said. "Earlier, when we were responsible for the Republican side, if the Democrats chose among one of their witnesses to be a member of the congress, we always allowed them to testify in a proper framework and we asked for the same courtesy – and they denied it. "
A spokesman for the House's Judge Democrats told Fox News that there were more members on both sides who wanted to be witnesses, and the Republicans got two of the eight tracks on the panel – and did not choose Scalise as one of them. Their two appointed. But Scalise's office said there is a standard practice for having an additional member panel for those who are experts or experienced in the subject, which was not allowed by Democrats in this case.
On the actual hearing although the decision led to a back and forth between Republican ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., And chairman of Jerrold Nadler, DN.Y., who said that because of the number of members who wanted Speaking, it was decided that no members would be allowed to witness to save time.
"It's a debatable decision," Nadler said. "We decided that rather than hear from many of our colleagues who have other options to solve this problem in Congress, we would rather hear from the witnesses."
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Collins pushed back: "The uniqueness of Mr. Scalise's testimony that is denied this voice is tragic for anyone who participates and everyone who has been part of it, especially from his perspective. as a legislator who wants to vote for and work on this problem, and just because he probably disagrees with the majority, there is no need to keep him out. "
" He was not denied because he disagrees, " Disadvantages later. "Majority members, we decided we needed a hard and fast rule today, or we would be here all day with members."
In his submitted written testimony, Scalise says he welcomes the intention to pursue a reduction of violence, but that he does not support new gun control restrictions being discussed at the hearing and that focus should be on stopping criminals instead . He argued that the measures proposed in the legislation to prevent background checks (known as HR 8) would not have prevented any recent mass shootings, nor would it have stopped the gunman who shot him.
"Instead, whether it is appropriate or not, the HR 8 gun management suggestions could turn law-abiding citizens into criminals, while not achieving the stated purpose of reducing gunpowder," he said.
Gun control has long been a sensitive issue, where the Republicans and Democrats have struggled to find common ground. House President Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said on Tuesday after President Trump's Union state that she was "saddened" by Trump not referring to the force of arms.
"The president spoke of security in many ways and he completely ignored the epidemic of violence in our country," she said.
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Scalise told Fox News that Democrats' decision to deny him a platform was a bad start for House Democrats ahead on hot-button issues.
"It's not a good way for the Democrats to start their new majority by trying to suppress conflicting views, and there will be many controversial issues ahead of the judiciary committee over the next two years," he said. "If they start running it as a kangaroo court, it will really hurt their credibility and ultimately show that they are not about getting the facts out, they are just trying to promote a left-wing agenda and that would be a mistake on their part. "