McConnell to join conservative filibuster of gun bill
With nearly a third - and possibly more - of his caucus ready to filibuster the gun control bill in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell bowed to the inevitable and announced he would oppose any cloture vote on the legislation.
"While nobody knows yet what Senator Reid's plan is for the gun bill, if he chooses to file cloture on the motion to proceed to the Reid Bill (S. 649), Senator McConnell will oppose cloture on proceeding to that bill," McConnell spokesman John Ashbrook said in a statement.
McConnell joins a group of 13 senators who have already vowed to block any gun legislation.
President Barack Obama, who traveled on Monday to Hartford, Conn. to speak in favor of gun control legislation, will speak critically of the threats of a filibuster from Senate Republicans, according prepared remarks.
"Some back in Washington are already floating the idea that they might use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms," Obama will say, according to the remarks. "They're not just saying they'll vote 'no' on ideas that almost all Americans support. They're saying they won't allow any votes on them at all. They're saying your opinion doesn't matter. And that's not right."
The Senate returns to work on Tuesday after a two-week recess.
Reid, who indicated in March he wanted a gun bill to see a vote after the recess, took to the Senate floor on Monday to blast Republicans for threatening to block any gun legislation. McConnell was in Atlanta Monday evening to watch the University of Louisville, his alma mater, play in the final game of the NCAA basketball tournament.
This is exactly the kind of situation that the filibuster was created for. We are about to alter the conditions under which Americans have exercised their Second Amendment rights. It doesn't matter whether you believe background checks are harmless, or whether you think they represent the first step toward a national gun registry. If you are going to muck around with the Constitution, you better have a damn sight more than 50+1 Senators to make it law.
Big changes like Obamacare should not be passed in the dead of night by a totally partisan majority of lawmakers and legislative trickery. Similarly, legislation to effect changes in gun laws should be approached prudently, and with the clear, unambiguous backing of most citizens.
Does that make governing hard? Of course it does - that's the point. It shouldn't be easy to fool around with our basic rights. And Harry Reid's threats notwithstanding, unless he listens to the minority position and takes their concerns into account, he and President Obama will not have a gun bill to brag about.