tv House Majority Whip Clyburn Discusses Legislative Priorities CSPAN April 9, 2021 10:01am-11:12am EDT
was out campaigning for her husband and working hand in glove to elevate his presidency. i see lady bird coming in and modernizing the office of the first lady, the first person to do that since after world war ii. >> the author of quote lady bird johnson: hiding in plain sight -- "lady bird johnson: hiding in plain sight." >> next, a conversation with house majority whip james clyburn, some of the topics include involvement in the civil rights movement, he said senate elections in georgia and the senate filibuster. this event was held by video conference and hosted by american university. >> good evening and welcome to a
conversation with house majority whip james clyburn. i am the director of the center for presidential studies. we are thrilled to sponsor this event and our mission is to strengthen the democratic square so we cannot be more honored to be joined by someone who has been strengthening that for several decades now. whether you want to call him a kingmaker or a washington whisper, congressman clyburn showed us his voice might be the most influential one in the entire democratic party. when he talks, people this and, which expends why we are all here tonight. congressman clyburn has represented south carolina's sixth congressional district since 1993, been elected in of the chairman of the caucus, as vice chairman of the house democratic caucus.
this is his second stint as majority whip. he served in that row from 2007 to 2011 and served as a democratic leader from 2011 to 2019. congressman clyburn serves at the chairman of the house subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis. he is also the chairman of the broadband task force and working group. as a national leader, he is champion rural development. his legislation created the south carolina national heritage corridor and the cultural heritage corridor. he elevated the national monument to a national park and established three national monuments in south carolina's low country. congressman clyburn is the eldest son of an optimist,
fundamentalists minister and independent civic minded man who guided him in faith and public. his memoir genuinely southern was published in 2015 and has been described as a primer that should be read by every student interested in public service. congressman clyburn is not the only reason we are in for a treat and we are honored to be joined by my colin -- my colleague from pretty university. she will interview sterk clyburn. she is a renowned -- she will interview senator clyburn. she is in coalition politics and movements. broadly construed, she looks at the effects of racial, ethnic and gender diversity on political institutions and
engagement. she is the author or co-author of a long list of journal articles and an award-winning book. it is published by cambridge university press in 2006. in 1992, she spent a year working for representative maxine waters for the woman's research in education. she currently serves as a coeditor of the american political science review, the premier political science journal, and is a founding director of the institute for civic reengaged research. here is how things are going to go. she will interview and then at 40 minutes past the hour we will open things up to you for q&a. please post your questions at any time during the conversation
using the q&a tool in zoom. also keep your questions civil, avoid grandstanding, and follow the rule of actually asking your question in the form of a question. i will go ahead and turn the virtual mike over. >> thank you. congressman, it is a pleasure to be here with you. i want to say good evening and welcome. i would like to mention that like you, i am a child of the south. i grew up in fayetteville, the home of fort bragg and the 82nd airborne. my mother is from greenville south carolina. i enjoyed reading your book. part of the beginning, one of the things you say is that i am
a southerner. there is something special about being an african-american from the south and the times you grew up in and doing the work you did your you had a storied history as activists on the streets, boardrooms and the national legislature. in light of the 2020 election, what would you add as the next chapter to your book? rep. clyburn: thank you very much for having me, and thanks to all who are participating this evening and allowing me the opportunity to spend some time with you. to answer your question, if i was going to write another chapter i will probably entitle it, the more things change the more they stay the same.
and would probably go back to my first meeting with john lewis and it was also the weekend i met martin luther king junior. that experience that weekend 1968 took place on the campus. it was at a time when people don't talk about it a lot here there was significant frictionv al and those of us -- significant friction between martin luther king and those of us. we met in north carolina and
we discovered at that time that we needed to have coordination so we decided to meet again down in atlanta and it was the student nonviolent coordinating committee. we wanted to have coordination on the campuses, because after fairbury first, 1968 on the campus, the citizen, thanks got fractured. a lot of people missed us, but up until that time, king had been teaching nonviolence and had never been to jail. he was also preaching disobeying unjust laws and he had never
been to jail. that meeting was all about you have to practice what you preach. it was right after that meeting that king went to jail for the first time. when you look at that and you look at where we are now, i suspect i would conclude that i need to write a chapter on the more things change more they state the same. the reason why isaiah chapter and not another book is because i am starting a new book. i don't know what the title is going to be. i will start out like i did with my second book. the first book was a tabletop on the people who started brown v. board of education.
i say in that book that all of my experiences were nothing pleasant but i consider them to be blessings. i started third book. this one, i had not decided what the title would be. when i started out writing blessed experiences, i had another title and i changed it because of my father's fondness with the blessed experiences. that is what it would be. valeria: since looking through
your book and hearing your explanation for activism at the university in 1961, there is so much history in the blessed experiences. it was really amazing to me. i took a class and was really happy to have connected with it. you were a historian. it is so rich. i think we are all waiting for the next book we are looking forward to it. you mentioned blessed experiences, congressman, you are a preacher's kid and i am sure that many in the audience sure that upbringing. i welcome your thoughts on the world of vision and politics --
on religion and politics. recent studies say that it is it declining, but americans seem to be clamoring for a story bigger than their own self-interest. i am thinking about the poor person's campaign who is run by a leader of the naacp from a small town in north carolina. he has championed a nonpartisan progressive to the conservative evangelical movement. his approach might be a model. the question for you is, what can the democratic party do to appeal to the public interest in the face of this larger purpose? rep. clyburn: i think we must do is combat this notion that evangelicals in the broad sense are the spokespeople for people of faith.
the fact of the matter is we have to keep in mind that the ku klux klan used as their symbol across. a lot of people don't focus on the fact that one of the original names and i say one because there were different factions, was the white christian night -- knights. we tend to gloss over the fact that there was a point back in the 1920's when you would go
down to the town square to watch a hanging. a lot of people gloss over the fact that there have been speeches given from the floor of legislatures in the south in support of slavery. when you look at all of that, you have to come to grips with the fact that we have to decide whether or not we will continue to allow biblical teachings to be used to support submissiveness and am trying to
stay away from the word but i have to use it because they use it, to support slavery. people go back to genesis to make arguments in support of the difference in who is blessed and who is cursed. so my dad and i used to talk all about meat following him into the ministry. i thought i would. but i had a discussion one time and i raised the issue over missionary work. i asked my dad, i was always sort of smirked and i asked my dad, slain to me what happened to those people in africa who
died before the christian missionaries got there. if there teachings were required to save their souls, what happened to the ones who died before they got there? i knew the moment i asked the question that i never should have asked that question. i don't remember exactly how the conversation concluded, but i knew i would never ask that question again and i also knew deep down inside that i probably would not be going into the ministry. i would say this to all christians --one of my favorite
verses in the bible --i have two favorites for the first is in the old testament, michael 6:8. to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly. that is my favorite of all. but over in hebrews 11th chapter, the first verse, the substance, the evidence of things unseen, these are two scriptures i live by. i know most democrats of faith tend to go to matthew 25 in order to express their feelings about service. they go to verse 45, but i
remind people that there are 44 versus in matthew 25 before you get down to that lot. -- two that thought. and all of those verses are parables and one of which is a parable for travels. people using their talents to hopefully fill positive. i say to everyone, read the other 44 versus and see what is required of you. valeria: that is one that has
been a guiding one for me, because you are a high taskmaster. absolutely i think that is a parable. rep. clyburn: that was taken away from him and given to one with the most. valeria: the character is what your life has them and stated. i mentioned that your father was a renowned pastor. your mother was an entrepreneur. you are also the scent of an entrepreneur. i wonder what are your thoughts on entrepreneurship more generally, people who are self employed and really struggling coming out of the last year with the shutdowns and the cost of the pandemic and these
experiences have disproportionately affected black and brown communities and women in terms of moving forward. what are your thoughts about entrepreneurship given that you grew up in a house with a highly entrepreneurial mother and what are you thinking about how we are going to go forward and recover? rep. clyburn: i am glad you mentioned my mom. i talked to people about my book, everybody tells me that is the chapter of the book they appreciated most. i would've thought it was my brother or something but everybody seemed to really enjoy getting to my moms. my mother overcame some real obstacles for she grew up on a farm. along the way she talked her dad
into adding her leave to go to school. none of her siblings asked him. but she left the farm and went to move in with a family 20 miles away and in return they sent her to high school, which they called boarding school in those days, which i also went to to graduate from. i think i told this in the book. i got into some trouble. it wasn't any serious trouble, but an offense that could have got me thrown out of school. and i called her to come and get me. and she came and then i had to
go home and she never out of the car and i went out to meet her and i told her what had happened and then she'd crank the car up and started rolling the window and i said, i have to get my stuff she rolled down the window and said, james, i believe i could live in jail if i knew i was getting out. you have three months until school and i think you can live into you get out, and she drove off. it wasn't quite jail, but i did get out. our house got burned down and my mom at a beauty shop and the whole house got burned up.
she overcame all of that. when she passed, she had to beauty shops. -- he had two beauty shops. she also operated that one can live in hell if you know you going to get out. i learned a lot from my dad, but i think my moms believe in me was within anything else. i wanted to be more like her than i am like my dad. i look more like him and have taken on a lot of his teachings. my senility and what i am, i think i am my mother -- my personality and what i am, i think i am my mother.
valeria: that is not unusual, absolutely. i wonder, given what you said about how your mother suggested that you can live on for a short while in a hard place, i wonder your thoughts about the protests of last summer, the organized protests against police brutality and now we are in the midst of a trial against derek chauvin. are these types of protests supported at the national level, do you think russian mark rep. clyburn: -- do you think? rep. clyburn: i think so but you have to not allow your protest methods and language undercut the cause. when john lewis and i, he was
lionized by the time he died. the state of georgia, they have already decided they are going to replace one of the statues with the likeness of john lewis. he deserves all of that. i must add that the state of florida is going to replace their confederate general --i never could understand why they had him up there and they are going to replace it. these are historic things. there are other statues, frederick douglass in the capital, harriet tubman, rosa parks, but all of them were put
there by congress. each state gets to statues. they have the right to put to statues -- each state gets two statues. they have the right to put two statues up. i think all of that is important for us to know. but you have to understand that what happened last summer with black lives matter, john and i talked about it on the floor. we sat in the back of the chamber talking and it was after he told me that things with him for coming to an end and his illness was terminal and we
talked about black labs matter and what was going on in what went on in ferguson. but then we also said that we were hopeful that things would not happen to them the way they happened to ours. we were doing fine and then we woke up with a new slogan, burn baby burn. it was taken over. we had the same fear that we would wake up one day and they would defund the police. we saw that as a way to undermine the movement. burn baby burn, a lot of people
get upset about it, but there is something to be said about it. i call it the way i see it. vern baby burn destroyed our movement -- burn maybe burn destroyed our movement. he refused to say it and they kicked him out. a lot of people don't know that john lewis was kicked out of snit. that is why a lot of us spoke out against defunding the police
and people still argue about it. those kinds of slogans can kill the movement. we hopefully will get beyond that, and i think we are. there are enough people who stood up to that and what we are seeing now. i was on a program the other day and i was asked about that. it is interesting to me that two people stand on that street filming a video or whatever you do recording that event. and in the called the police. if they were anti-police, then why did they call the police on
the police. if you want a good cop to come out and do something about it. so black people aren't against the police, we are against bad policeman. and there are bad policeman. i often tell the story that my dad was president of the church. the first meeting i can remember ease dropping, some of them were talking about defrocking a minister. they didn't burn the church or get rid of the church, they got rid of the minister. i am trying to say that and i
had relatives who are police officers. we aren't against police, we are against bad police. there can be bad ministers, bad doctors, bad lawyers, i just headlined last week that two lawyers are going to be disbarred because they are bad lawyers. the same thing happened with doctors, they lose their licenses. why is it all the sudden we can't see that there are a policeman? it is that simple. valeria: i think you're pointing to something interesting. i see echoes from your own history. there is in patients in the streets but what you are pointing to is there also has to be some strategy and if you want
to create the change you have to play along game. strategy and working with policymakers and i think suddenly there is a lot of merit to what you are saying. the critique seems to be that we want police to protect and serve. rep. clyburn: certainly. valeria: we certainly don't want to be realized. you are certainly not a stranger to that which you had to have a strategy to move forward that makes policymaking possible. i wonder if i can segue, because you also made me think about the way that you do take some hard stance. i don't want to wander off into
the confederate flag, but if i had to pick a favorite chapter from the book, it would be that one. there were some of the ups and downs in twists in terms it could practically be a lifetime movie. i don't want to go down that route unless you want to hit a want to ask you a question about working across the aisle. you had some opposition often with the senator from your state. be also report there were times that you able to work to solve problems. has the nation become so intolerant to working across the aisle and not just across the aisle but people who seem diameter he lead -- that seem diametrically opposed to your
views. rep. clyburn: it is interesting. a lot of times you have to establish a foundation upon which to deal with relationships. i left teaching history in the public schools, because back then teachers were not allowed to be too political and i have always been very political. i left the classroom. i really got involved politically. but one of the people i met, in fact we worked in the same office. our desks were together, was
gertrude, strom thurmond's sister. we struck up a friendship. strom would tell me how much his sister thought of me. we did work together on various things. that didn't keep me from going to the courthouse for matthew. who was an african-american judge -- for matthew perry, who was an african-american judge. both times i went to jail and was tried, there were two big trials. matthew p is my lawyer and we got -- matthew perry is my
lawyer and we got to be friends. i wanted the new courthouse to be named for matthew. . strom thurmond wanted to have his name on -- matthew peary. strom thurmond wanted to have his name on it and we disagreed. there was an op-ed piece about my differences with strom thurmond. jesse helms and i differed over judgeships. that is what i tell people about the filibuster. jesse helms would never return the blue slip on a black judge. wouldn't do it. i ask you about ron johnson up in wisconsin and then kentucky.
these guys are letting you know up front how they feel and so you can let them carry the day. though we had a public disagreements, i one that adam. it is a long story as to how i won it. and then i went up against jesse helms. the senior to this day is roger gregory, an african-american judge from virginia who never got the blue slip returned from jessi combs -- jesse helms and he would never approve a black. but i got to bill clinton and
bill clinton wanted something from me and i told him that i would be inclined to do what he wanted if he would point roger gregory to the full circuit court of appeals. bill clinton appointed roger gregory and you talk about strategy. not only did he get the job, he is still there today and is now the senior judge for the circuit court of appeals. the one that used to be the most segregated is now integrated. valeria: i have one last question and then we are going to open the floor for questions from the audience and david is going to be the moderator. i could talk to you all day, i must say. i am already ready to talk about
people who rescued you from the icy roads, we are not going there right now. rep. clyburn: we can. valeria: another time i hope. after the 2012 election, i was struck by witt ronnie's next question. -- mitt romney's question paid what would you do now. mitt romney merely answered that he was not sure and now he holds a senate seat from the great state of utah. you, on the other hand, are writing a winning streak. your endorsements have revived careers.
it is not -- if it is not to forward to ask, do you see yourself as a successor to nancy pelosi, the nation's first speaker of the house? is that a possibility? rep. clyburn: no, i won't miss a beat. i have to be real about that. the fact of the matter is, i think that there will be an african-american speaker of the house. there are several people for that category. one is not going to be the secretary. jeffrey's, who is -- jeffries,
who is still there now and i suspect his name will come up as the possibility of being the speaker of the house. he is building the kind of resume that could be successful. there are others. but i think he is poised to be in the running. there is a young lady, ms. underwood, in illinois, who i think a lot of. she is in her second term. as for jim clyburn, no. i've had too many birthdays for that. so my next job after i quit would probably be --.
valeria: hopefully we will still be able to hear your stories about the knowledge and wisdom that you so graciously shared with us. it has been an absolute pressure -- pleasure to have this conversation you. david: thank you so much. i could listen to you to talk for the next four hours. we did promise our engaged audience we would open it up to them. i am going to pick a few questions for you and let you answer them as you wish. the first one is from wendy and says, thank you for your amazing career and service. georgia has given me hope for a new south that speaks to more progressive politics. in your commission, what kinds
of infrastructure investments, and i don't think she means roads and bridges, as the democratic party able to invest in other deep states. we might see an emergence of a new strategy. rep. clyburn: thank you very for much for that question. i think it is a very critical question and something we have to think hard about. the stars line and the stars were aligned this time for the kind of result we got. we have to keep in mind that politics in this country run like the pendulum on :00. nichols right for a while -- pendulum on a clock. it goes left and then it goes right and then it passes to the
center. we have to remember that our politics spend much more time in the center that they do in the right or left. we went left with obama and then write with trump. and then -- and then right with trump. you asked by the infrastructure that we are going to have to do is stay engaged, state focused and keep in mind that there is no movement of politics in this movement.
it is all a pendulum, left to right and right to left. it is the voters who determine how long it camps out in one area of the other. david: that is great insight. the next question is harking back to the question you answer earlier about black lives matter. she says, beyond policing, would you characterize the criminal justice system overall as having more of a few bad apples or as a systematically flawed. rep. clyburn: i do not think the system is flawed that there are more than a few people flawed. what we have done is treated these things as absolute. you hear about qualified
immunity. there is one thing to have qualified immunity. i am not against it but we determine it is an absolute and that is what we have done, given police officers absolute immunity. we don't give that to any other profession in this country, so why do they do it to police officers. so no, i don't think the system is flawed, i just think we have been flawed in our oversight of the system. we have not allowed community commissions to have any say so. why not? i just think just like we have done with gun ownership, the first amendment is a great and
mimic to the constitution, -- is a great amendment to the constitution, but what people often say is you do not have absolute immunity when you put the first amendment to work. the same thing should be true for the second amendment. why is it that the first amendment would not allow it the second amendment is absolute? it is crazy. david: good point. our third question is from michael minta. he says we hear a lot of negative things in congress, such as party polarization and the parties can't get things done, we don't hear enough about the positive changes that have occurred in the institution over time. so in light of your tenure in congress, could you share some
of those positive changes from your point of view that have occurred since you've been there? rep. clyburn: once again you got right to left and left to right. i have been able to get a deflation past on some progressive issues, but for some strange reason, we have decided, or too many people in congress decided that it's more important to win an argument than to really move the agenda forward.
we are supposed to be in pursuit of a more perfect union. you don't do that by turning the clock back on anything. you do that for starts. but what we've got now is the notion, in the most important thing going is to win the argument. good grief you are playing best about you call a timeout to get together. you are playing football into go into the huddle. sometimes you give the other team about an search for a better position on the field.
and in politics it has become, you have to win every argument. one of the things i try to teach young people and i have a group of 40 people every year into the fellowship. i found that by and large, and i meet with them periodically. i am not the only person who meets with them, but i try to tell them that we have to keep in mind that all of us have different experiences and we have to see the world differently you should never consider one to be right and when to be wrong. my dad said when i first got into politics, don't call a man
a liar, beg to differ, but never call him in a liar. i have lived by that. because of my background and experiences i will see the world differently. i stayed with the same went for 58 years. i can say right now that we saw the world differently. david: the next question is from carlos. thank you for coming to speak to us. i am a member from clermont university in california and i wanted to hear your thoughts on those who suggest that no deliberation occurs in the u.s. house. we see this argument by defenders of the filibuster, wary that the senate simply become the house.
he was hoping to hear your thoughts on that. rep. clyburn: i am assuming he is talking about the senate would become the house if you get rid of the filibuster. we have allowed for something we call reconciliation that gets around the filibuster when it comes to the budget page you have to run the country. you can't let the country collapse. the constitution, i don't think the constitution should be allowed to be jeopardized by filibusters. the filibuster is supposed to be there to allow for an extension of debate. i see a thing one way and you see it another way, maybe i can
convince more of these people to see it my way if i had more time to talk. that is what the filibuster is all about, extending the debate. that is not with the filibuster has become. it is now being used to deny constitutional rights, and that is what i said that the filibuster needs to have a port out reconciliation as we do with the budget. you shouldn't be able to filibuster my constitutional rights. so i think that is where we have to draw the line. if i have a legislative issue, want to pass a law, i have a lot that took me six years to get
past. -- passed. that issue did not involve constitutional rights, voting rights, it was whether or not we would have a program to deal with energy policies. reconstruction of national parks. it was a year -- it was an issue i got passed. it didn't interrupt their constitutional rights. i think people are dead wrong when they say to get the filibuster on these types of issues.
david: with another woman here for you, we have lost a number of key members of the black caucus in recent members, the most recent passing of representative hastings. there has been an emergence of influential junior members. are you optimistic of the should act three of the caucus moving forward? rep. clyburn: yes i am, very much so. i did is an event just recently and i mentioned all of the younger members. i just mentioned jeffries. when i came in in 1993, you almost doubled the size of the
congressional black caucus. when it was formed, i think there were eight african-american members of congress. today there are 59. so there is much coming along. i always remembered -- reminded hastings and we knew each other. john bliss and i met each other as 20-year-olds and college students. there are a lot of young people coming along. i feel great hope for the future. i have no doubt it is there, the
talent is there, but is there -- but there is a big difference between having the talent and opportunity. are a lot of talented people. i often tell the story of we know thomas edison one of -- was one of the greatest inventors of all time. lewis latimer is who perfected the lightbulb. most people don't know that. he was a smart guy. he escaped to massachusetts, but he came up with the common filament that made thomas edison's lightbulb work. so he never got the credit for it. it doesn't mean he didn't do it. so just because you don't have
the opportunity doesn't mean you don't have the wherewithal. a lot of young black people have what it takes to be outstanding legislators, to be president, vice president. the question is, will they have the opportunity? david: do you have time for one more? this is from tyson king meadows, he says the supreme court has steadily whittled away congressional prerogatives over the years. the most egregious perhaps in recent memory was the shelby decision. given the enormous power congress holes in article one, might we see the courts again reject national standards if the john lewis voting act becomes law? rep. clyburn:: yes, you could very well see that.
i have been accepted by everyone and are having discussions with senators. the voting act is to restore restore section four of the voting rights act of 1965. a lot of people say section 5 -- section five allows for -- cannot operate without section four. section four is where the formula is. that is where the supreme court decision, the roberts decision got rid of. the reason you have that formula is because it did not apply to every state. it only applied throughout six states and perth of the other states, including new york, by
the way, and on -- arizona. now, suppose we did the john lewis voting rights act with preclearance apply to all 50 states. you would need the formula. it would apply to all 50 states. i have read there are 47 states that have proposed various voting limitations that they did not have before the last election. now, if that is true, that means there are only three states out there you could apply to. if you apply it to all 50 states, which is what i am advocating, and i have talked to some that say why are we waiting
around for a formula to come up -- let's pass the john lewis voting rights act that says you cannot pass any kind of constraint on voting in federal elections unless it is cleared by the justice department. that is what i think we ought to do. david: ok. thank you so much pit we will go ahead and let you enjoy a little bit of your evening. this has been terrific. we are so grateful. hill area, there you are -- thank you for hosting this and serving in your role. i think this whole thing was terrific and i welcome everyone to give them a virtual round of applause, and with that, do you have any final words, hilaria: --?
>> thank you for sharing your time, stories, history, experience, and we are all waiting for this next book, so get to it. rep. clyburn: thank you very much. david: get on that. you have other work to do, too, the. don't neglect that. thanks so much, and good night, everybody. >> coming up, the white house covid-19 response team holds a news briefing. live coverage on c-span. we leave this program to take you live to the white house covid-19 -- what the president proposed yesterday. it would close the regulatory loophole, stop proliferation of what are known as ghost gun's. also coming yesterday, clarified statutory restrictions on stabilizing braces for high-powered pistols. it would publish a model red flag legislation for states to
use. and then it would also provide $1 billion for grant programs in communities that combat and prevent drug violence. and it would ask the justice department to issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. other things coming out of that event at the rose garden yesterday, but the topic of ghost guns, "usa today" clarifying they are guns without serial numbers that are largely untraceable, do not require typical background checks for purchase, also known as kick guns or 80% guns. there also purchased in a kit that allows the buyer to assemble it at home. you can look at what are known as red flag laws, and some states that carry them. 19 states and the district of columbia have enacted the extreme risk protection order laws that allow those on the front lines, law enforcement, and depending on the
jurisdiction, family members, health professionals, and school administrators to ask a court to prevent the person at risk of violence to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms. to find out more about those states and how they play out those laws, you can go to the johns hopkins university site. we will ask you about these actions issued by the white house yesterday, by the president. if you support them, (202) 748-8000. if you oppose them, (202) 748-8001. and you can text us at (202) 748-8003. with more from yesterday, here is president biden. [video clip] pres. biden: we have got a long way to go, seems like we always have a long way to go. but today we are taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis but what is actually a public health crisis. nothing i am about to recommend in any way impinges on the second amendment. phony arguments suggesting that these are second amendment rights at stake with what we are
talking about. but no amendment to the constitution is absolute. cannot yell fire in a crowded movie theater and call it freedom of speech. in the beginning, you could not own any weapon you wanted to own. in the beginning, certain people were not allowed to have weapons. so the idea is just bizarre to suggest some of the things we are recommending are contrary to the constitution. gun violence in this country is an epidemic. let me say it again. gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it is an international embarrassment. host: when it comes to legislative measures, the associated press reporting this morning that president biden mentioned day formidable list of priorities he would like to see congress tackle, including passing the violence against women's act, delimiting -- eliminating closet exemptions for gun manufacturers. he called on the senate to take
up measures to close background check loopholes, adding that with an evenly divided senate and any gun-control legislation requiring 60 votes to pass, democrats would have to keep every member of their narrow majority onboard on board while somehow adding 10 republicans. more at the associated press. we are asking your thoughts on these actions issued yesterday on guns. mike in north carolina, who opposes this effort. start us off. caller: good morning. well, as i told the call screener, i am not truly opposed. i am on the fence, really. actually, i am quite pleased. it really was a nothing burger, in my opinion. this does not mean i support gun violence, let's get that out in the open right away. the two main causes of gun violence, to use that term in the united states, or the areas that should be focused on are the inner cities, ok, where gun
violence is widespread in very select communities, and it is handguns, illegal handguns. we know where this is at, and i will not go down the road of using the descriptors to describe it. but it would have been nice to hear that the justice department, under merrick garland, was going to rally either an atf or fbi or u.s. marshals sweep of these cities that are mostly all run by democrats -- host: back to what we talked about yesterday paired why were you ok with them? caller: well, it is a nothing burger. there is nothing in there that will do anything. ghost guns? really? pedro, named the last mass shooting that involved a ghost gun. host: i cannot tell you. caller: exactly.
it is a non-issue. he had to come up with something. i am guessing that the real serious anti-gun crowd, you know, is really disappointed. because the bottom line, too, is there is no appetite for this in the senate. host: ok, mike, in north carolina. to your point -- i could not tell you, but the paper's sake ghost guns have been used in some mass shootings, including one in the 20 santa monica college and the california, one and they fight -- in which five people were killed. one in 2017 northern california in which a gunman killed his wife and four others. one in 2019 at a california high school in which a 16-year-old killed two students and injured three others. more at the "new york times." berry in virginia, a supporter of this effort. no ahead. caller: i hate to say it, but i support with the idea is, because i am paranoid
schizophrenic and do not think crazy people should have guns. but this is just more of a symbol than anything. because i do not think they should ban assault weapons and all that. i think we have a right to bear arms. i am a democrat, but i just feel like they are just trying to do something to distract you from what really needs to be done. host: hold on, then what do you support of yesterday? what did you support yesterday then? since you are calling on the support line. caller: just that they are actually trying to curb violence. i think that is a good idea, but it is a real complicated question, and there is no answer. host: let's hear from john in hawaii on our oppose line. morning. caller: good morning. thank you, c-span. i would like to say i also kind
of feel like this almost feels like a nothing burger, because the issue of the matter is we have this issue of assault weapons. they are here, you know, and we have not been able to get rid of them since their inception. but it is really, like, reducing magazine capacity going to get rid of them? i would say >> we will leave this program to take you live to the white house covid-19 briefing this morning. this is live coverage here on c-span. >> as of today, overall, more than 112 million americans have received at least one dose, and more than 66 million adult americans are fully vaccinated. that is more than one quarter of all adult americans that are now fully vaccinated.