Tags: Gun Rights | mcconnell | gun | control | senate | immigration | bill

McConnell, Conservatives Preparing to Push Back on Gun Background Check Bill

Image: McConnell, Conservatives Preparing to Push Back on Gun Background Check Bill U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Jr., R-Ky.

By Lisa Barron   |   Monday, 15 Apr 2013 11:45 AM

Despite signs of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill in recent days, relations between the two parties remain tense and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems ready to push back on votes testing support for controversial gun and immigration proposals.

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McConnell and other top Republicans are opposed to a plan crafted by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to expand background checks on the sale of firearms and are trying to devise amendments to kill the agreement, Politico reports.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is drafting an alternative gun bill, and McConnell could try to force votes on allowing guns in federal buildings and national parks, the news publication said.

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs 60 votes to move the Manchin-Toomey plan forward, their apparent goal is to force Democrats in largely Republican states who are up for re-election in 2014 to pressure Reid to retract the bill, according to the publication.

“I think it’s an open question as to whether or not we have the votes,” Toomey said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding, “I think it’s going to be close.”

So far, only four out of 45 Senate Republicans, including Toomey, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and John McCain of Arizona, are reportedly set to support the bipartisan proposal, reported The Hill, which surveyed the Senate mood.

There are a dozen other Republicans who voted for a motion to proceed on the gun control bill last week, including Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire; Jeff Flake of Arizona;  Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia; Roger Wicker of Mississippi; and Dean Heller of Nevada, The Hill found in its survey.

Flake said he is reviewing the bill. Heller’s office told The Hill the senator “will not support any plan that creates a federal gun registry.” Corker, meanwhile, is reviewing the bill, according to The Tennessean.

Chambliss said he opposes it. Wicker said on C-SPAN Monday morning that he is opposed to the Manchin-Toomey amendment.

To pass Manchin-Toomey, at least five Republicans must back it. Fifty-five senators caucus with the Democrats, but not all are sure bets to embrace the background check legislation.

And immigration may be just as tough. While a bipartisan group of eight senators is working on legislation that could reach the floor of the upper chamber this summer, several GOP lawmakers have signaled they intend to fight it because it would establish a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants who came here illegally.

Sen. Jeff Session of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” he is opposed to the legislation because it “will give amnesty now, legalize everyone that’s here effectively today.”
Latest: Do You Support Background Checks on Gun Buyers? Vote in Urgent Poll

Making things even more difficult is McConnell’s apparent refusal to work with Reid anymore on fashioning a possible “grand bargain” on budget and tax issues, Politico also reported.

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