Jun 23, 2016 6:07 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster says “we made our point” that “we want open transparent government.”
And in an exclusive TV interview with NH1 News, the Democratic congresswoman from New Hampshire’s second district predicted that “when we come back on July 5th I’m very confident a bipartisan bill will emerge.”
Kuster spoke with NH1 News on Thursday afternoon, less than an hour after Democrats in the U.S. House ended a 25 hour protest over what they said was a the lack of action in the GOP controlled chamber over legislation to strengthen background checks for guns purchases and to limit the ability of terrorist to buy weapons. The protest came a week and a half after 49 people were killed at a nightclub in Orlando, the worst mass murder in U.S. And it came two days after four gun measures in the U.S. Senate failed to advance.
“Look we had millions of people engaged in this discussion on line. The power of technology was just extraordinary. And we’ve got people from our districts, from all across the country, having the debate that ought to be going on in the Peoples’ House. So we’ll give our counterparts a couple of days and we’ll come back on July 5th and we’re very confident that we’re going to have this debate, that the American people are going to insist that we have this debate, and that we get a vote on the House floor. Up or down,” Kuster said.
“We want to protect our communities and our families and it’s not too much to ask to keep someone like a terrorist that has pledged his allegiance to ISIS from taking a gun into a nightclub and massacring innocent Americans,” she added.
Thwarted on Wednesday evening, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan was able around 2:30am early Thursday morning to adjourn the chamber until after the July 4th holiday.
Asked about Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s comments labeling the Democratic protest as a “publicity stunt,” Kuster responded “I was shocked when our leader, our speaker, Paul Ryan, used those words.”
“I think it just goes to show that apparently the speaker is not listening to the American people. Our phones are ringing off the hook. We have thousands of inquiries. People with opinions. Let’s get into the details. Let’s have a hearing. That’s what the legislative process is about,” she continued.
GOP candidates criticize Kuster
The two top Republicans running to face off with Kuster in November's general election each criticized her participation in the protest.
Calling the sit-in a "stunt," state Rep. Jack Flanagan of Brookline said in a statement that "not only is this behavior a violation of the House of Representative rules, but an embarrassment to the entire state of New Hampshire."
And former state Rep. Jim Lawrence of Hudson wrote "instead of working for the people of the Second Congressional District, the Congresswoman prefers acts of political theater. Her willingness to trample on the rights of law abiding gun owners across the Granite State so she can pad her campaign coffers is frankly appalling."
Flanagan and Lawrence will face off with five lesser known Republicans in the September 13th GOP primary in the 2nd Congressional District.
Kuster, who's running for a third term in Congress, faces no opposition for the Democratic nomination.
State House Democrats in solidarity with Congressional counterparts
While the protest in DC was entering its 23rd hour, nearly a dozen Democratic state lawmakers in New Hampshire took to the floor of the state House of Representatives.
The sit-in was organized by state Reps. Renny Cushing of Hampton and Kathy Rogers of Concord.
Cushing said that in the wake of the Orlando mass murder, "silence is not an option."
Gov. Maggie Hassan briefly joined the demonstrators, as did state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro of Manchester, who argued "if there’s an issue that concerns people, those who represent those people should have an opportunity to vote on it."
State House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff told NH1 News that demonstration was "to show our solidarity with members of the U.S. Congress who are protesting in Washington."
The sit-in in the House, which was not in session, lasted nearly four hours.
State Democratic lawmakers demonstrate in the House of Representatives in solidarity with the DC counterparts, on Thursday June 23, 2016
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