Marathon Bombings’ Impact in Congress: Questions on Guns, Immigration, Terror Response


Congress will review various issues related to the Boston Marathon bombings, says the Washington Post. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tx.) he plans to review the incident and the response of local, state, and federal authorities. There's very little Congress can do once the administration makes a decision on Tsarnaev's legal status, except to speak out and hold hearings. Early disagreements about the suspect's status demonstrate that lawmakers remain sharply divided over how the government should respond to terrorist attacks and treat suspects.

The Tsarnaev brothers used multiple weapons in their shootout with Boston police and stockpiled an array of explosive devices and other dangerous materials, officials said. Neither brother had permission to carry firearms. Lawmakers may ask several questions: How did the brothers obtain the firearms? Did they fail a background check and then illegally purchase the weapons? Would any of the gun-control legislation proposed in recent months helped stop the brothers from obtaining the weapons? Answers to those questions could help begin or blunt further debate over gun control, which is on hold. On immigration, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the Boston bombings ought to spur even swifter action on overhauling the nation's immigration laws. His comments could be critical to maintaining Republican support for the bipartisan Gang of Eight, which is sponsoring an immigration reform proposal and faced early doubts when Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) urged colleagues not to rush ahead on the overhaul before determining the immigration status and travel of the suspects. The bombings are not likely to derail the process of passing new immigration legislation.

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