- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
- Law firm that cleared N.J. Gov. Christie in ‘Bridgegate’ gave 10K to RGA, which he heads
Senators uncertain how vote on gun bill will swing; co-sponsors look for GOP support
Lawmakers on both sides of a proposal to expand gun-purchase background checks to sales online and at gun shows said Sunday that they don’t know whether it will pass — a hurdle that, if not cleared, likely would kill the prospects of significant gun control legislation on Capitol Hill.
The circumspect posturing underscores the sensitivity of negotiations on the issue and flies in the face of a long tradition of predetermined outcomes on Capitol Hill, even on high-profile legislation.
“I think it’s an open question as to whether or not we have the votes,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican and co-sponsor of the amendment, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think it’s going to be close.”
Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said his party hasn’t started formally counting votes on the measure, which was crafted by Mr. Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat.
“We haven’t whipped it,” Mr. Durbin said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I can tell you this: When it gets down to it, we’ve got to ask the basic question, ‘Should we try to keep guns out of the hands of felons and people so mentally unstable they shouldn’t own a firearm?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ Manchin-Toomey is a step in that direction.”
But any measure needs the support of at least a handful of Republicans in order to reach the 60-vote threshold that would quash a filibuster. Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, is another co-sponsor of the amendment, and Sen. Susan M. Collins, Maine Republican, said over the weekend that she would support the proposal.
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said Sunday that he is “very favorably disposed” toward the legislation.
Mr. McCain said the overwhelming majority of Americans want to strengthen the background-check system but that he still had questions about the Internet part of the amendment.
“But look, I appreciate their work,” he said on “State of the Union.” “The American people want to do what we can to prevent … tragedies, and there’s a lot more that needs to be done, particularly in the area of mental health.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama predicted on ABC’s “This Week” that the amendment wouldn’t pass the Senate, but his fellow Republican colleague Mike Lee of Utah said the outcome remains to be seen.
“It was introduced just the other day,” Mr. Lee said on NBC’s “Meet the Press. “It was interesting, it wasn’t introduced until after we had voted to proceed to the bill.”
Gun control advocates also have to watch Democrats such as Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, who indicated last week that he is opposed to the amendment. Other Senate Democrats, Mark Begich of Alaska of Mark L. Pryor of Arkansas, voted against a motion to move broader gun legislation forward for debate. If those positions hold on the Toomey-Manchin amendment, at least eight Republicans would have to support the measure in order to break a potential filibuster.
Mr. Toomey said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the co-sponsors are confident they have the support of other Republicans, but he did not want his remarks to precede their announcements.
So how many votes do they have?
“Well, we’re close. We need more,” Mr. Manchin said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Michael Bloomberg charts $50M challenge to NRA: 'Got to make them afraid'
- McAuliffe's PAC off to fast start, with $254,000 raised in two weeks
- Virginia Republican Bob Marshall stands by remarks that raise eyebrows
- Obama urged to enforce ban on importing military-style firearms
- Va. Senate approves Medicaid expansion, but budget stands no chance in House
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- Josh Romney swipes Harry Reid with photo tweet of dad paying taxes 'your paycheck'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.