WASHINGTON, DC- On Friday Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-9) released the following statement regarding the cancellation of votes in the House of Representatives this week:

“The late Reverend Billy Graham was an inspiration to many Americans. As a result of his contributions to our nation, Speaker Ryan announced he will be brought to the U.S. Capitol to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Additionally, it was announced the House of Representatives will cancel votes on Wednesday, February 28, and Thursday, March 1.

“The vote cancelation announcement cited an apparent tradition that is unfamiliar to me. Congress faces numerous pressing problems. Given that the House has been in session when our nation has paid tribute to a distinguished citizen, I question the decision to cancel votes in the House of Representatives next week.

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“We must address the gun violence epidemic plaguing our children’s schools and our communities. Despite the President’s recent promises to address gun violence, there has been no movement in the House of Representatives to hold a vote on legislation to reduce gun violence. Additionally, when the President ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers in September he stated that this provided ‘a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act,’ setting March 5, 2018 as the deadline to act before work permits expired.

“While this decision remains tied up in the courts, the status of current DACA recipients could change at any moment. That means, despite promises made to them by the federal government, DREAMers remain in painful limbo. It is unfortunate the legislative activity next week was shorted when we could be spending time working on legislation to reduce gun violence and address the future status of DREAMers.

“We know there is strong support by the American people to work together on legislation that will address gun violence and our immigration system. The people affected by them are our neighbors and friends, and these issues will not go away. As a result, I hope the House Republican Leadership will clarify the rationale for canceling votes in the House of Representatives next week, and urge them to use what little time we have next week to consider proposals to addresses the gun violence epidemic and the status of our DREAMers. It is long past time to get the job done.”