Updated 3:58 p.m. 6/14
The House will vote Thursday on legislation packing counterterrorism bills it has previously passed into one bill, but it may be a package of three bills instead of nine, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Tuesday after a classified briefing on the Orlando mass shooting .
McCarthy said he’s working with the Senate to determine which bills have the best shot at passing both chambers and becoming law.
“There are three that deal with the radicalization inside America,” he said. “Those are the three that are needed the most. And we may just do those three.”
Those measures would enhance fusion centers that analyze threats, expand the use of testimonials from former extremists in counter messaging, and improve procedures for issuing terror alerts by centralizing decision-making at the Department of Homeland Security.
Another six counterterrorism bills the House has passed could always be repackaged later, McCarthy added.
At the same time, House Democrats renewed their call to take up legislation aimed at gun control, calling the GOP leadership “deer in the headlights” when it comes to the issue.
The call came the morning after a Democratic uproar protesting stalled gun control bills after a moment of silence was observed on the House floor Monday for the 49 victims of the weekend’s gay nightclub attack in Orlando.
Later Tuesday, House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions suggested that some gun control provisions could be considered as amendments to appropriations bills.
“It’s being discussed right now,” the Texas Republican said, adding that Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul “is going to determine not just the policy but the application of that, and I’ll follow Chairman McCaul’s lead.”
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McCaul said in addition to the previously passed bills the House will consider his “combating violent extremism” bill. He said it’s still be discussed whether that bill will get a separate vote or will be packaged with the others.
A hearing the Homeland Security Committee had scheduled for July on worldwide threats will be moved up to June 22, McCaul added.
“The homeland is under attack and it’s in one of the highest threat environments I’ve seen since 9/11,” McCaul said.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday that the mass shooting in Orlando was “another act of war by radical Islam.”
He also acknowledged that the LGBT community was attacked just for being who they are, saying, “This is an ideology that rejects who we are as a country — open, tolerant, free.”
In their initial response to the mass shooting, most Republicans did not mention anything about the LBGT community being the target of the attacks. Many Democrats were quick to call it a hate crime.