U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, says Congress should look for “common sense ways” to reduce gun violence and pass them on a bipartisan basis.
Booker discussed the congressional response to the Las Vegas mass shooting on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. Booker was in Milwaukee for an event with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.
Booker said prohibiting or regulating the bump fire stock — the accessory the gunman used to fire faster on the crowd — would be a start.
He said comprehensive, universal background checks would be another common sense solution, as well as trying to keep guns out of the hands of people who are “high risk.”
But he said citizens will have to demand change.
“Congress is the last to move,” Booker said.
“We shouldn’t surrender that ground. We’re not powerless. We shouldn’t just say ‘Congress is not going to do anything,’ and throw up our hands,” he said. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves, and be convicted that we’ve got to get Congress to move.”
Gousha noted the partisan divide and asked Booker if Congress is still capable of doing “big things.”
Booker said he has partnered with conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other Republican colleagues to pass legislation. But he thinks a different tone is needed.
“We’ve got to stop vilifying each other and demonizing each other,” Booker said.
“We’ve got to start extending each other more grace, we’ve got to start approaching each other with a more courageous empathy, so that we understand that there’s no left or right way to go forward in America. We’ve got to find our common ground and begin to start acting again with common purpose,” he said.
Booker also discussed the anti-poverty and tax reform legislation he is sponsoring with Baldwin. See that discussion on wisn.com
Also on the program, Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave talked about the incentive package local officials are offering Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn to build in the county.
Foxconn last week said it will build a huge LCD panel plant east of I-94 in the village of Mt. Pleasant.
County and village officials offered Foxconn a $764 million package to help with land acquisition and infrastructure upgrades. That’s on top of the state’s nearly $3 billion deal for Foxconn to locate in Wisconsin.
Gousha asked Delagrave about Mt. Pleasant village president Dave DeGroot’s statement that the local package won’t come at a cost to village and county taxpayers.
“We’re willing to say that is our goal and we’re going to do everything possible to achieve that goal,” Delagrave said.
“It’s a chance for Racine County to kind of redefine itself,” Delagrave said of the Foxconn plant, which is expected to start with 3,000 employees, and hire up to 13,000 once it is fully operational.
Delagrave also said the county will be sharing information and seeking residents’ input on Foxconn in listening sessions that begin later this week.
“We want to make this an inclusive process for everybody,” he said.
In another segment, Aurora Health Care president and CEO Nick Turkal said health care is in turmoil after Republican attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed.
“We’re very concerned about the future,” Turkal said. “I worry that patients have gotten lost in the discussion that’s going on in Washington right now, and what we’d like to see is a bit of stability going forward.”
Turkal said health care providers are concerned about people losing the coverage they gained under the ACA, and going back to using emergency rooms for primary care.
In Wisconsin, he said, about 200,000 people gained insurance coverage.
“We would hate to see that go away,” he said.
Turkal said in the short term, stabilization of the tax credits people receive to help them purchase insurance is needed.
Longer term, he said, health care needs bipartisan change.
“This ping pong ball effect with health care does not serve people well,” Turkal said. “I think this is too important an issue to remain a partisan discussion.”
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