Skip to comments.Reid Has Few Reasons to Rush Gun Debate
Posted on 04/07/2013 8:46:25 PM PDT by neverdem
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the tools he needs to overcome any initial filibuster of a firearms background check bill, but he may not be inclined to use them.
Indeed, the Nevada Democrat is biding his time, even as President Barack Obama embarks on an aggressive new push for votes on a variety of gun-related measures, including background checks and a new prohibition on assault weapons.
The trouble for Reid is the new process established in January through modest filibuster rules changes may have a fatal flaw in practice when the Nevada Democrat actually wants the bill involved to become law.
The new rules allow Reid to bring any bill to the floor without having to produce a filibuster-proof majority if he gives at least two amendment votes to each party, but those rules do not prevent senators from blocking a bill from passing once its up for debate. In the case of the background check bill, using the maneuver would almost certainly be a sign that Democrats do not have the 60 votes to beat back a filibuster of the bill before it reaches final passage. And waiting until a bill is on the floor to forge a compromise is a risky bet.
Plus, Reid needs at least 60 votes in his pocket or ideally, many more to force the Houses hand on the issue. Only an overwhelming vote by the Senate would have any chance of putting pressure on Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, to take up a similar package. The fear has been that if any gun bill passes narrowly, if at all, there would not be enough political cover to force House Republicans to bring it up for a vote.
The need for a bipartisan deal may be why Democratic leaders have been so cagey about exactly when the debate will start.
Leadership tentatively had planned to bring up the gun bill as early as this week, straight off the two-week holiday break, but aides said the leaderships preference is for all the pieces to be resolved before taking the bill to the floor.
Plus, if Reid opens up the process to amendments, he could make in-cycle Democrats vulnerable to political poison pill votes on an already charged issue. And if theres no bipartisan deal and passage looks slim or sets up impossible votes in the House, it begs the question of why expose these members to the danger at all?
Negotiators on a deal to expand the nations gun background check program long viewed as one of the few areas for bipartisan agreement and the centerpiece of a firearms package had originally planned to announce an agreement as early as this week.
But the talks have been stalled around one issue for weeks: whether private sellers should be required to keep a record of their gun sales. Republicans, including chief negotiator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, have said that mandating such receipts would be tantamount to creating a national gun registry, while Democrats have said they are just trying to treat private sales like public ones.
As work in the Senate continues behind the scenes for longer than many advocates of strengthening gun control laws might like, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney outlined the White Houses next lobbying effort. That will include a Monday trip by Obama to Connecticut, the state where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings happened, and a visit by first lady Michelle Obama to Chicago on Wednesday.
Despite the push from the White House, congressional sources on both sides said it appeared there was little room for compromise on the issue of record keeping. Democrats spent much of the recess searching for new GOP partners. They have already put out feelers with Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, and Politico on Friday reported that Democrats were trying to work with Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia have been leading the talks, but Reid has also been involved.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week said it was unclear whether the Senate would pass any legislation expanding background checks.
The challenge here is, does that mean that if you sell a shotgun to your neighbor, you have to figure out a way to do a background check? the Kentucky Republican told WGTK radio in Louisville. Background checks for such sales would be part of what the Democrats seek to accomplish in creating a universal system. Under one proposal, an individual seeking to buy a firearm could present some kind of certificate to a prospective seller to demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record or another circumstance that would prohibit them from owning firearms. Coburn has indicated he could support such a proposal if it is not tied to record-keeping requirements.
I think the key here is the people with mental serious mental disabilities committing crimes, McConnell said. But I think myself and most of ... my Republican members in the Senate are open to doing anything we can to try to keep the weapons out of the hands of people who are suffering with serious mental disabilities.
The package that Reid is setting up for floor consideration does not contain mental health provisions, but it could come up as an amendment.
Meredith Shiner contributed to this report.
Let Rand Paul et al get up there and discuss the issue for 13+ hours.
Win for us.
He has one perfect reason to rush it: he’s an incompotent, snide, little tyrant.
The personification of everything the 2nd was put in place for.
He has one perfect reason to rush it: hes an incompotent, snide, little tyrant.
The personification of everything the 2nd was put in place for.
I think Reid is a little nervous and he should be. He needs to be afraid.
“Make this moron vote and then let the voters of Nevada fire his butt.”
First of all, I am a Tea Party adherent. That said, Reid should have been defeated in his last election, but he squeaked by thanks to Tea Party Darling, Sharron Angle. Either Tarkanian or Lowden would have put Harry away. Just look at how badly Reid’s son, Rory lost in the Governor’s race to Sandoval. It was the exact same voter population! The Tea Party has a problem vetting candidates and they are hurting conservative efforts to remake the Republican Party. Angle sunk her candidacy with her mouth, as did Akin and Mourdock this last election.
You say that as if the GOP-e is infallible in their candidate selection.
If that is so, how did the Establishment candidates happen to lose in winnable states like Florida, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota and Wisconsin?
On the other hand, we have the Tea Party to thank for Ted Cruz and Deb Fischer.
Any bill with a “mental health” component in it is a THREAT to Sen. Reid.
When you look up the word “brain-damaged” in the dictionary, you’ll find a big picture of Dingy Harry there.
“You say that as if the GOP-e is infallible in their candidate selection.”
Not at all. I prefer that someone other than the GOPe be involved in the vetting/selection of candidates. I was merely pointing that in the case of Reid’s seat (as well as a couple of notable others), that we needlessly lost a seat that we should have won handily. Tea Party folks generally have my support, but what I have seen is the Religious Right imposing their collective will in candidate selections that has not gone well. I am looking for common sense vetting that focusses on the central issues of interest to most voters. I voted to uphold the sanctity of marriage here in California and I am disgusted with what has happened to “the will of the people” in that instance, but I’ve about gotten to the position that we need to leave that particular matter alone for the time being and focus on electing people who will put the country back to work, Unfortunately, I am probably in the minority in my view here.
All they need is another Sandy Hook or CO theater event. I’m sure there’s going to be one right around the corner.
While fervently hoping you are wrong, I have the uneasy feeling you have a valid point. It is rarely a losing proposition to bet that the base nature of the human animal will prevail in either outright evil or scheming for the success of evil for tangential purposes.
One thing I have learned about the OZero Admin, is that there is NO bottom.
Actually, there is no need to separate the social and the economic issues.
Both clearly enjoy majority support all around the country. The fact that some failed Tea Party candidates have been given to public displays of stupidity doesn't diminish the fact -- any more than reluctance to support the social issues on the part of some failed establishment candidates diminish the fact.
One can be pro-jobs, pro-life and pro-marriage without making a fool of one's self.
...has the tools he needs to overcome any initial filibuster of a firearms background check bill, but he may not be inclined to use them... the new process -- established in January through modest filibuster rules changes -- allow Reid to bring any bill to the floor without having to produce a filibuster-proof majority if he gives at least two amendment votes to each party, but those rules do not prevent senators from blocking a bill from passing once its up for debate. In the case of the background check bill, using the maneuver would almost certainly be a sign that Democrats do not have the 60 votes to beat back a filibuster...Not using the maneuver indicates the same thing, apparently. The Demagogic Party must have another one of their school massacres planned.
Background checks are RACIST since a greater percentage of minorities have felony records. Paraphrasing Ayn Rand, use their “virtue” against them.
The Roll Call commie is giving advice to Reid on how to run the Senate. How cute. I’m sure the egomaniac Reid will send a thank you note to the insect. It’s always interesting to watch a cockroach skitter across the kitchen table.
The amendment to the background check bill should require a background check and ID card to vote in a Presidential election
Reid gun control ping!
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