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Speaker Ryan calls for focus on ‘the values that unite us’

WASHINGTON — Anger over the police shootings in Dallas must not be allowed to harden the nation’s divisions, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday, a day after gunmen shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven others.

“Justice will be done,” Ryan, R-Wis., said in a House floor speech. He called it a “long month for America,” saying the nation has seen terrible and senseless things.

The Dallas killings, which capped a week that also saw two highly publicized fatal shootings of black men by police, prompted House leaders of both parties to say they would work together to do something, though they provided no specific details.

In a brief interview, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said he and No. 2 House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland agreed to talk Saturday about assembling a bipartisan response that could be announced next week.

“I think there’s an opportunity here where people can work together,” McCarthy said. While declining to say what might emerge, he said, “Why don’t we work together? There’s too much going on in this country.”

Minutes earlier on the House floor, Hoyer said, “We need to sit down together, try to see how we can bring this country, this House, together” to decrease tensions between police and their communities.

Flags over the Capitol were lowered to half-staff in response to the shootings.

Ryan said that in debating how to respond, “Let’s not lose sight of the values that unite us, our common humanity.”

He added, “A few perpetrators of evil do not represent us; they do not control us.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined in Ryan’s expression of grief and thanked Dallas police officers for their service.

“Justice will be done, justice must be done,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “Also mercy must be done.”

Members of the Texas delegation, led by Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, led a moment of silence Friday on the House floor. The shootings occurred in Johnson’s district just blocks from her home, Johnson said.

In addition to a moment of silence, Johnson said she also wants “firm action” on gun violence.

“We need to bring meaningful legislation to the floor that will help bridge the divide between law enforcement and communities,” she said.

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