In the wake of last week’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two adults, Rep. Ayanna Pressley called for stricter gun control, with a focus on justice over bipartisanship. She also advocated for broader student debt relief, following President Joe Biden’s latest plan that could forgive $10,000 in loans.

“Failure is not an option,” Pressley said on Boston Public Radio Wednesday. “It's not just the tragic and completely preventable school shootings and massacres, it's everything from suicide to accidental shootings in the home by children, domestic violence and the like.”

For Pressley, the issue is personal. “I can't look my 13-year-old daughter in the face in good conscience, not knowing that I am exhausting every tool available,” she said.

The Representative called for universal background checks, raising the federal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, red-flag laws and a ban on assault weapons.

“We're anticipating some urgent movement in the House,” she said. “I'm grateful that that's where we finally are. I'm devastated that it's taken this much loss for us to move. And as far as the GOP is concerned, I mean, it just seems that Senate Republicans have really contempt for the American people. ... It's time for my colleagues across the aisle to grow a spine, stand up to this gun lobby and join us in making these long overdue changes.”

While the Senate looks to negotiate a bipartisan bill on gun control, Pressley warned against compromising policy. “The goal is not bipartisanship, the goal is justice, the goal is impact, the goal is saving lives,” she said. “I don't know, how much should I be willing to compromise when we're talking about our children, our elders, our educators?”

The Congresswoman also emphasized the long-lasting impacts of gun violence and the need for mental health services to address trauma. “Guns beget more guns and violence begets violence,” she said. “We are leaving intergenerational residual trauma in all of these instances.”

Pressley also focused on the long-term effects of student debt. She said that Biden’s plan to forgive $10,000 per borrower is not enough, and that forgiveness should not solely be directly targeted to those with the lowest income but offered more broadly.

“Income is not wealth,” she said. “I think we should be focused on advancing student debt cancellation that is not means tested, that goes as far and as deep as the hurt is. Anyone who's burdened by this debt deserves to have it alleviated and to have their burden lessened.”

Pressley called the student debt crisis an intergenerational gender and racial justice issue, since women and people of color are more likely to struggle with student loans and because many borrowers never ultimately received their degrees.

“We're talking about a whole generation that can't start a family, grow a family, purchase a home, start a business because they are being burdened by this debt,” she said. “This is a strategy to jumpstart our economy, to help us recover from this pandemic induced recession. It's an intergenerational issue. It's a racial justice issue. It is an economic justice issue.”