By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,628)
“This was not about any specific gun legislation. It was about an idea,” said US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) this morning at a press conference outside her waterfront office on Commercial Street.
Pingree arrived back in Portland late last night from Washington, D.C. following a 25 hour sit-in at the US House of Representatives. The event was finally brought to a close when House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R) recessed Congress until after the Fourth of July. Ryan charged the Democrats with performing a “stunt” for fundraising purposes. Pingree said the sit-in was not a stunt and she did not use it to fundraise.
The idea Pingree was referring to was to open up a dialogue on gun control issues in the wake of the recent Orlando night club tragedy in which 49 people died. “The Republicans are afraid of any dialogue. That makes them very nervous,” Pingree said. She praised Susan Collins (R) for her efforts to put together a compromise bill that would appeal to both sides of the aisle – but it didn’t work. Republicans did not support her in the numbers she needed to pass the Senate.
When asked about Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s disappearing act on gun control legislation, Pingree said he was entitled to take whatever position he wanted. The only member of Maine’s federal delegation, Poliquin who represents the rural 2nd District, has avoided the subject focusing on other matters instead.
“I would be happy if Congress would take up anything on the matter of gun legislation,” Pingree said. “To disregard the pain and tragedy of families is not good. We are elected to do the peoples’ work. Not even to permit a debate on the subject is not doing the peoples’ work.”