WASHINGTON — Days after a House committee passed the first significant gun control measures in nearly a decade, Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood said the action was long overdue.
The legislation still has a long way to go before it could become law, and is highly unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.
But, in an interview with BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM Friday, Underwood said she doesn’t want anyone “to discount the progress that’s happening in the House.”
The House Judiciary Committee passed two gun control bills on Wednesday — a day before the one-year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The first would require background checks for all gun purchases and most gun transfers in the US, and the second would address a loophole that allows gun purchases to go through without a background check if the check is not completed within three days. The bill raises that deadline to 20 days.
Speaking to AM to DM on Friday morning, Underwood talked about the 11th anniversary of a shooting at Northern Illinois University, near her Illinois district, in which a gunman killed five people on Feb. 14.
“Eleven years ago yesterday they had a campus shooting and we all thought, this will never happen again, surely this will be the last straw that will spur some action,” she said. “And then as we all know we’ve just seen these cases pile up and pile up and with a Congress that had been unwilling to act.”
Underwood said she is “proud to be in the caucus, and proud to be in the House of Representatives that’s going to pass this bill,” adding that the measures passed on Wednesday has bipartisan support. A handful of Republicans support the legislation, including Rep. Pete King from New York.
“I challenge Sen. [Mitch] McConnell and the senators in their Republican caucus to make sure they are bold enough to give this bill due consideration in the Senate,” she said.
Underwood, who at 32 is the youngest black women ever to be elected to Congress, also talked about living with another millennial member of Congress, Rep. Katie Hill from California.
“The Congress functions on paper so we’re in the digital age and Congress is not necessarily there,” she said. “So to be able to have a roommate who shares this point of view, that we can go through this experience and support each other, it’s been really fun.”
Underwood said there’s a bond between the freshman millennial members of Congress: herself, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Abby Finkenauer, Katie Hill, and Josh Harder.
“There’s five of us 32 and under, and we all get along so well,” she said.
Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.