- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
- U.N. rights chief: Flight MH17 downing possible war crime
- Attack on park in Gaza war kills 10, mostly children
- Calif. protesters to block Israel-owned ships at Port of Oakland
- Obama to give Africa $38M, but tells young leaders: Stop ‘making excuses’ for economy
Background check setback: ‘We will not get the votes today,’ Manchin reveals
Question of the Day
Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat and one of the co-sponsors of a measure to expand gun-purchase background checks to sales online and at gun shows, said that proponents do not have the votes to pass it Wednesday.
The development is a gigantic setback for gun-control advocates, who, after the Connecticut shooting rampage, had their eyes set on much more ambitious controls, such as bans on certain types of weapons and magazines and universal background checks on all gun sales.
President Obama has made campaign-style trips to sell the administration’s package, crafted by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who has been Mr. Obama’s point man on the issue.
“We will not get the votes today,” said Mr. Manchin, according to NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell.
“If we just had 20 percent of our Republican colleagues — that’s not a heavy ask; that’s not a heavy lift — only 20 percent, that’s nine members, nine members. This thing would be home,” Mr. Manchin said. “And we’ll see. I’m hoping … I can’t understand it. I really can’t.”
And Jonathan Kott, a spokesman for the senator, said Mr. Manchin remains optimistic that if senators read the bill, they will support it.
“So far Senator Manchin has managed to garner support from an A-rated NRA member and three Republican senators as well as 90 percent of his own party,” Mr. Kott said. “With a record like that, I see no reason to bet against Senator Manchin today. He will continue to explain his bill to his colleagues and anyone with concerns until the minute they vote.”
Mr. Manchin said on the Senate floor Wednesday that he wasn’t sure he had the votes and that it would be close.
“I feel good. I feel I’m here for this purpose,” he said. “Whatever happens today will happen. I feel we’ve done a good job, and I just ask my colleagues to consider this before we vote sometime this afternoon.”
Prospects for the amendment, though, faded significantly Wednesday as Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Democrat, both said they would not support it. Both had voted to move debate forward on the underlying legislation last week, which includes more far-reaching background-check language, stiff penalties for gun trafficking and straw purchasing, and provisions intended to bolster school safety.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has scheduled votes on eight other amendments to underlying gun legislation, including bans on certain types of guns and magazines.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, and other co-sponsors unveiled a substitute amendment Wednesday morning intended to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and address mental health and school safety, among other provisions.
Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, also announced his own amendment intended to replace the background-check provision from Mr. Manchin and Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, that would allow people to conduct self-checks through a consumer portal, among other measures.
Mr. Coburn said the fact that it contains provisions that anger special-interest groups on both sides is a sign of its strength.
© 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.
- Wilder, Cuccinelli named as possible witnesses in McDonnell trial
- Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's trial to test definitions of political corruption
- Half can't name political party of their member of Congress, poll finds
- Mich. congressman returns Commerce award after group endorses opponent
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: 'Playing defense on the one-yard line'
Latest Blog Entries
- Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton 'clearly bears responsibility' on Benghazi
- Holder vows to press ahead on gun control fight
- Seven of 10 prefer that Obama work with Congress, not go around it: Poll
- Schumer: Tea party hasn't let Obama put his policies into effect
- GOP official: Black not running for Wolf's House seat
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- D.C. police chief orders officers not to arrest legal gun owners carrying weapons in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq