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Monday, May 06, 2013

Background check bill not at all dead; gaining votes

Huffington Post: Senate Democrats believe that they have several new votes in favor of a bill that would expand background checks for gun buyers, after weeks in which those who opposed the legislation faced strong political backlash at home.

The additional votes would still put the bill, a bipartisan compromise sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), shy of the 60 necessary for passage. And tellingly, no one boasting of growing support would reveal the names of those lawmakers ready to flip.

But the bullish talk from Democrats — from leadership on down — is yet another indication that the party feels good about the fallout from the failed gun vote and is increasingly eager to try again.
What’s happening is that a lot of no votes are taking a hammering at home. The idea here seems to be to keep the issue hot, so that those Senators who’ve lost standing with a soft-on-crime vote against expanding background checks have to keep facing the issue — and keep talking about it.

“Joe Manchin called me yesterday,” Senate majority leader Harry Reid told Huffington Post’s Sam Stein. “He thinks he has a couple more votes. The one senator, Republican Senator from New Hampshire [Kelly Ayotte], has been — wham, man has she been hit hard. She’s the only senator in the northeast to vote against background checks. She went from a hugely positive number in New Hampshire — her negatives now outweigh her positives. She is being hit every place she goes. So we are going to pick up some more votes. I may be able to get another Democrat or two. That would get us up to 57. We may only need three additional Republicans. So we’ll see.”

Dem Sen. Mark Pryor — who likewise is taking a beating — is said to be in talks with Manchin about defecting to yes. One definitely in talks is Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, who’d sponsored a similar bill in Georgia. The only reason he seems to have voted against it at the federal level is because he was strongarmed by the NRA. Greg Sargent reports that he’s looking to be thrown a face-saving bone, but is definitely on the shortlist for defectors.

As I keep saying, this isn’t over until we win.

[photo by KOMUnews]

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