Weekly Address: Gun Control, Budget [VIDEO]
The mother of a Newtown, Conn., shooting victim is making a deeply personal plea from the White House about gun violence during the President’s weekly radio and internet address.
Francine Wheeler’s 6-year-old son, Ben, was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. She’s stepping in for President Barack Obama to deliver the president’s weekly radio and Internet address. She is the first person to deliver the address other than Obama or Vice President Joe Biden since the two took office in 2009.
Francine’s husband David sat silently by her side as she delivered a message urging the U.S. Senate to pass what she calls “common sense gun responsibility reforms” she believes will make communities safer.
She talked about how Ben “lived life at full tilt” and said that while the “tidal wave of anguish” people felt has receeded, it has not gone away for her. Wheeler says thousands of families are drowning in her family’s grief and asks for help to do something, in her words, “before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.”
“Now is the time to act” urged Wheeler, asking people to speak to their Senator to help promote “real change.”
The Senate is considering a Democratic bill backed by Obama that would expand background checks, strengthen laws against illegal gun trafficking and slightly increase school security aid. The bill passed its first hurdle on Thursday, and senators will vote on amendments to the legislation next week.
Its fate in the Republican-controlled House is uncertain.
In the Republicans’ weekly address, freshman Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana criticized the tax increases Obama proposed in the $3.8 trillion budget blueprint he unveiled Wednesday, calling it “a blank check for more spending and more debt.”
Although she acknowledged that Obama’s budget “offers signs of common ground” in the form of entitlement reforms the GOP has previously requested, she said it’s wrongheaded for Obama to insist he’ll only agree to those reforms if Congress also agrees to higher taxes.
“If we were to implement the president’s budget, taxes would go up on just about every American, including middle-class families,” Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, said in the address, adding Obama’s budget “isn’t what compromise looks like.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story