WASHINGTON–The biggest debate on Capitol Hill Wednesday played out in a hallway – not the House floor.
After voting wrapped up, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, was just getting started.
“They’re all cowards! They won’t do anything to save the lives of our children. Cowards,” Bowman said to reporters assembled outside the House chamber. “They’re gutless.”
Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, started to walk by and asked Bowman what he was talking about.
“I’m talking about gun violence!” Bowman shouted.
“You know, there’s never been a school shooting in a school that allows teachers to carry,” Massie said.
Their dispute came days after the Nashville school shooting Monday, when three 9-year-old students and three staff members were killed.
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Lawmakers fight in the hallway about gun control
Bowman grew more outraged, saying more guns leads to more deaths and accused Massie of “carrying the water for the gun lobby.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer, -D-Md., attempted to intervene, but ultimately walked away.
Bowman continued to yell at Massie to “look at the data,” claiming states with open carry laws have more deaths.
Massie told Bowman to calm down.
“Calm down? Children are dying!” he said.
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The argument in the hallway is another sign of how far apart some House Democrats and Republicans are on gun control and shows why any movement on legislation is unlikely.
President Joe Biden has called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, but Democrats and Republicans in both chambers have said there’s not enough support to do it.
Candy Woodall is a Congress reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.