MASSLIVE: Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern says you shouldn’t expect much from Congress for the rest of the year As originally appearing in
BY GINTAUTAS DUMCIUS
BOSTON – You shouldn’t expect Congress to get much done for the rest of the year as lawmakers hit the campaign trail to run for re-election, Mass. Congressman Jim McGovern said Tuesday.
“I don’t expect very much of substance from Congress in the next several months because it is an election year,” McGovern, a liberal Democrat representing a district that stretches from Worcester to the Pioneer Valley, said while addressing the New England Council, the pro-business group.
McGovern noted that the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention are set for July.
Congress is off in August, then back in session in September, and then off again in October, according to McGovern.
After the November election, lawmakers are slated to return and pass spending bills to keep the government running in 2017, McGovern said.
“I think that’s a squandered opportunity,” he said, laying blame on House Republicans unwilling to compromise on legislation.
Congress as a whole has repeatedly garnered low approval ratings. A recent Gallup poll showed 16 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, while 80 percent disapprove.
“We’ve become a place where trivial issues get debated passionately and important ones not at all,” McGovern said.
“We’re not doing anything on climate change, we’re not doing anything on gun control,” he added.
McGovern is a gun control supporter and pointed to the US Senate being unable to pass legislation banning gun sales to potential terrorists.
“That the Senate couldn’t come together and pass that very modest, kind of tiny step in the direction of common sense, really is pathetic,” McGovern said.
“I have two brothers-in-law who are hunters, members of the National Rifle Association, they don’t think people on terrorist watch lists should be able to buy guns,” he said.
Senate Republicans criticized Democrats for pushing the measures, saying they were looking to score political points in an election year.
Speaking to the New England Council, McGovern also expressed support for an assault weapons ban.
“Why anybody needs to buy an assault weapon, a weapon designed for war, is beyond me,” he said. “The only purpose of these weapons is to kill people. Not to hunt. Not even for self-protection. It’s to kill other people. And we can’t even bring these issues in the House to the floor for debate.”