(NEW YORK) — Rep. Joe Kennedy III thinks the U.S. needs to do more to stop gun violence in the wake of the recent mass shooting that killed 17 at a Florida high school.
Kennedy expressed strong opinions on the necessity of Congress taking more action and discredited the debate being focused on mental health issues.
“We’re not doing enough,” Kennedy, D-Mass., said during an appearance on Friday on “The View.” “I came into office in 2013. I can’t even tell you how many times we have uttered our thoughts and prayers to the victims and survivors of gun violence and thoughts aren’t doing it. Democrats have tried and staged a sit-in for hours trying to get a vote on the House floor for a single piece.”
Kennedy, 37, who is on his third term, delivered the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union in January.
Kennedy emphasized the importance of speaking up.
“The folks being able to hold Republican leadership accountable are not going to be Democrats in the House, it’s going to be the American people saying, ‘We want this, we want to protect our kids.’”
On Trump’s proposal to give bonuses to teachers who carry guns, Kennedy opposed the idea, saying that “making sure that more and more people have guns” is not “the right way to protect our children in schools.”
Trump suggested the idea of arming teachers and school staff on Wednesday after listening to emotional narratives from survivors and the families and friends of mass shooting victims.
“The first big bill out of Congress was a bill to cut Medicaid, the largest payer of mental health service in this country, by $800 billion. So don’t turn around and tell me this is a mental health issue when you just tried to cut that by $800 billion,” said Kennedy in response to his Republican colleagues who point to mental health issues, and not guns, as being the problem.
Kennedy has put in “efforts to strengthen mental health parity laws [and] increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavioral health providers” since he has taken office, according to his official website. He is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy and the great-nephew of President John F. Kennedy, both of whom were assassinated.
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