Paul Ryan Throws Support Behind Mental Health Reform Bill

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December 3, 2015 10:49 am
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House Speaker Paul Ryan vowed Thursday to take on mental health reform in the wake of a shooting that left 14 dead in California, throwing his support behind a mental health bill that’s been in the works for years.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Ryan called mental health issues the “common theme” you see in mass shootings, along with attackers who are “terrorist-inspired.”

“We have not updated our mental illness laws in decades. This is a problem because mentally ill people are getting guns and committing mass atrocities,” he said.

Ryan said the House would be taking up Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) legislation, which Murphy spent a year researching after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That legislation calls for creating a Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary position to address a shortage of beds in psychiatric wards, among other proposals.

Ryan also touted the House taking up efforts to end the U.S. visa waiver program, saying “we’ve already been working on refugees.”

“The last thing we want to do is rush to judge to quote-unquote ‘do something’ and then not actually solve anything,” he said.

The speaker also said he opposed using the No-Fly List as a measure for restricting gun purchases, saying many people are put on the list arbitrarily or by “mistake.”

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