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Reid Rushes Into 'Basis for Opening Debate' Gun-Control Bill

Biden cited a favorite argument of Feinstein's -- that the previous assault weapons ban survived constitutional challenges.

"For all those who say we shouldn't and can't ban assault weapons, for all those who say the politics is too hard, how can they say that? …For all those who say we shouldn't or couldn't ban high-capacity magazines, I just ask them one question: Think about Newtown," the vice president said.

"Think about what happened out in -- where Gabby Giffords, my good friend, was shot and mortally wounded," Biden added. The former congresswoman, of course, survived.

"It must be awful being in public office and concluding that even though you might believe you should take action, that you can't take action because of the political consequence you face. What a heck of a way to make a living. I mean this sincerely. What a heck of a way to have to -- have to act."

After getting the news from Reid on Monday that she was relegated to amendment status, Feinstein told CNN on Tuesday that not receiving a vote "would be a major betrayal of trust."

“This is very important to me. And I’m not going to lay down and play dead," she said. "I think the American people have said in every single public poll that they support this kind of legislation. It’s aimed to protect children, to protect schools and malls."

Reid's move also indicates gun control has a higher priority on the floor than bipartisan immigration reform.

The Senate is in the midst of a late-night "vote-a-rama!" -- as Reid's floor schedule calls it -- with another six votes scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday.

Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget was voted down tonight 40-59, with GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nevada), Mike Lee (Utah), and Rand Paul (Ky.) joining Democrats on the "nay" side.