Sen. Hawley Blasts Gun Control Bill, Biden Gas Tax Trick

22 Jun 2022

SEN. MURPHY: For 30 years, Mr. President, murder after murder, suicide after suicide, mass shooting after mass shooting, Congress did nothing. This week we have a chance to break this 30-year period of silence with a bill that changes our laws in a way that will save thousands of lives. It is a compromise. It is a bipartisan compromise.

It is a path forward to the way that both Democrats and Democrats can work together to address some of the most vexing, most difficult challenges this nation faces. We have a chance to show parents and kids and families that we take their safety seriously and that we are prepared to do not just something, but something that saves lives in order to protect them.

BUCK: That was Senate Democrat Chris Murphy on the Senate advancing this bipartisan gun restriction legislation. What does it do, actually, and why are they claiming that it will save lives? In what way would this save lives and in what ways would this perhaps create due process and even constitutional concerns? We’re joined by Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri who has a lot of thoughts on this and more. Senator, always good to have you.

SEN. HAWLEY: Hey, thanks for having me. Great to be with you.

BUCK: What do you think of this legislation? We were trying to talk about this on the show in the last couple of weeks and it was always, “Well, it’s a framework, there’s no text,” and now, did anyone even see this text before they voted on it?

SEN. HAWLEY: (chuckling)

BUCK: It feels like they did this one behind closed doors no one gets to know what’s going on?

SEN. HAWLEY: Yeah, that’s about right. That’s about right. It’s weeks of closed-door negotiations where nobody knows exactly what’s going on, and then yesterday, in typical D.C. fashion, they dropped the bill — 80-some pages — into our laps and say, “Okay, now vote on it,” which it’s just incredible, especially for legislation as fundamental as this that touches and affects every law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights. So, I voted “no” on this and I’m opposed to it.

What the bill does — to answer your question a second ago — is it pays states to set up programs to take away Second Amendment rights from law-abiding citizens. By the way, that includes 19 states that already have these red flag laws where you don’t get due process before your guns are taken away, where you can be accused and have them taken away before there’s any crime that you’re accused of, let alone convicted of.

All of those states are gonna get money under this bill. They’re gonna get paid, and all the other states are gonna get paid and encouraged to set up laws like this. So this is not a bill that I can support, not by a mile. And, to me, it doesn’t do anything to address the real problem here, which is crime and criminals who commit acts of violence with firearms. They’re the ones who ought to be punished here, not law-abiding citizens.

CLAY: Yeah, Senator Hawley, I’m glad you mentioned that because Buck and I have talked about on the show that, even if we were able to eliminate every mass shooting in this country — which certainly we would be in favor of — 99% of violence would still be occurring. Why do you think the conversation never goes to, “Hey, let’s put way more cops back out on the streets and let’s put violent criminals behind bars for longer periods of time”? Two things we did in the nineties that were proven to drastically improve overall quality of life and reduce violence in this country, and yet it’s almost as if that can’t be discussed in any measure.

SEN. HAWLEY: Yeah. And the reason for that, Clay, is the Democrats are pro-criminal. I mean, that’s why. These are the people that think we have too many people in jail and that we have sentences that are too lengthy and that we ought to just let folks out. And they’re doing that, by the way, all over the country. This is why we have a crime wave. It’s ’cause all over the country, soft-on-crime mayors and governors and liberal DAs are out there not enforcing laws. We’re talking about violent crime, by the way. We’re not talking about petty offenses.

Violent crime. They’re not enforcing laws and the Democrats don’t want to. So you’re exactly right. What we ought to be doing is putting more cops on the street, giving every cop in America a pay raise, and we ought to be increasing the sentences for violent offenders, including people who try to bring a firearm to a crime and use it.

But that is exactly what they do not want to do, the Democrats, because they don’t want to actually get tough on crime and criminals. It’s just… It’s exactly backwards, and that’s another reason why I’m not gonna support this legislation. It doesn’t crack down on criminals. It just goes after law-abiding citizens and I’m against that.

BUCK: Speaking to Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Senator, we never have enough time to go through all of the crises that the Biden administration is not only facing but we argue day in and day out here on the show has made worse, in some cases has really created all through their own doing. The gas situation. Right as Clay and I were on air about 30 minutes ago Biden spoke on this and called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax. Play clip 32.

BIDEN: Today, I’m calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days, through the busy summer season, busy traveling season. Here’s what that means. Every time you go to the gas station to fill your tank, the federal government charges an 18¢ tax per gallon of gas that you purchase, and a 24¢ tax per gallon of diesel you purchase. It’s a tax that’s been around for 90 years. It’s important because we use it for the highway trust fund to keep or highways going. But what I’m proposing is suspending the federal gas tax without affecting the highway trust fund.

BUCK: So, Senator, from my math here — and back-of-the-napkin math on radio is always dangerous — even if this happens, people who are paying $6 a gallon, might be paying, what, about $5.42, give or take?

SEN. HAWLEY: Yeah, for like a few weeks, and then it will go right back up. This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. I mean, what Joe Biden can do if he wants to have any effect on gas prices is to suspend and reverse his idiotic Green New Deal policies that are causing this crisis. Let’s not forget this is the guy who when he came into office, first thing he did was suspend oil and gas leases, get rid of our pipelines — cancel them — shut down American energy production. I mean, and he boasted about it at the time.

He bragged about it, how he was gonna be the climate change president. Well, now we are getting the Green New Deal and we’re getting it good and hard, and nobody can afford to fill up a tank or buy grocery stores or buy critical goods and services because all of it is affected by the price of energy — and, by the way, isn’t anybody else tired of seeing the president of the United States up there blaming everybody and anybody but himself? He won’t take responsibility for anything. It’s almost like he isn’t president — which, if that’s what he wants, we’d be happy to accommodate him.

CLAY: No doubt.

SEN. HAWLEY: So I think it’s just absurd.

CLAY: Senator, how much success are Republicans gonna be able to put forward in terms of just stopping Joe Biden from being able to pass anything else? And the reason why I ask is, it’s clear Build Back Better would have made inflation so much worse than it already was. And he has created 8.6% inflation with many of the policy choices he’s made now. Do you think we’re gonna be able to effectively run out the clock and keep any more disastrous legislation from passing before the midterms, or do you think Democrats — seeing the shellacking that’s coming — are just gonna throw up their hands and say, “We better get stuff passed now while we still have a majority”? How would you assess the landscape right now in the Senate and in the House in terms of Biden’s ability to get more bad bills passed before we get into officially this campaign season?

SEN. HAWLEY: Well, I would just say that if Republicans will hang together in the Senate — it takes 60 to get anything done in the Senate — and all Republicans have to do is just stand together and say, “No, we’re not gonna go along.” This is one of the reasons that this gun legislation disappoints me, is we should be clear about this. This has to pass with Republican votes. It cannot get through without at least 10 Republican votes.

And I just think it’s a big, big mistake. So I hope the Republicans will want to stand strong between now and November, and Senate Republicans in particular and will I say “no” to the Biden agenda. I think it’s critical, and I think we gotta give voters a reason to vote Republican! I mean, Republicans have gotta stand strong and show they’ve got backbone. Why else would people vote for us?

BUCK: Very good question. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Senator, appreciate you, sir. Thanks so much.

SEN. HAWLEY: Hey, thanks for having me.

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