The attempt of some Republicans to block gun legislation from coming to the Senate floor failed this morning as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) firearms bill survived a cloture vote 68-31.
A 60-vote threshold was needed to move forward on consideration of the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013.
Democrats Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) voted no.
Republicans voting yes were Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), John McCain (Ariz.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Dean Heller (Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), and Saxby Chambliss (Ga.).
Reid said that, as promised, Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who also both voted yes on cloture, would have the first amendment to the bill and would have time to prepare their background-check compromise for a vote. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) assault weapons ban would also get an amendment vote, he said.
“Some people love it, some people hate it, but we’ve got to have a vote on it,” Reid said.
“We cannot have just a few senators spoiling everything for everyone here.”
Before the vote, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who had threatened a filibuster of any gun-control legislation brought to the floor and were joined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and others, protested that no one had been able to read the Toomey-Manchin amendment yet.
“It is expected that the Toomey-Manchin provision announced yesterday will replace the current language regarding background checks. Yet, as of this morning, not a single senator has been provided the legislative language of this provision. Because the background-check measure is the centerpiece of this legislation it is critical that we know what is in the bill before we vote on it. The American people expect more and deserve better,” the trio said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the effort to push through legislation that no one had read highlights one of the primary reasons we announced our intention to force a 60 vote threshold. We believe the abuse of the process is how the rights of Americans are systematically eroded and we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent it.”