Biden’s Demand For Background Checks Gets A Reality Check Instead
The odds of the Senate approving the legislation expanding background checks passed by the House earlier this year was never good. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia had already said he wasn’t in favor, and there aren’t ten Republican votes in the Senate to pass the bills, much less eleven, which would be the magic number since Manchin’s not on board. Instead, Joe Biden has been betting that talks between GOP senators like John Cornyn of Texas and Chris Murphy of Connecticut would lead to some sort of compromise bill that could get 60 votes in favor, but the Wall Street Journal is throwing some cold water on that idea.
“Progress would probably be overstating it,” Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who has been a key part of the discussions, said of the group’s efforts. Mr. Toomey said that while he might be able to reach a deal with Democrats, he was skeptical they could find nine other GOP votes in the evenly divided Senate. “It’s not clear to me that we get 60 at this point,” he said.
Lawmakers said the recent discussions have centered on expanding background checks to all commercial sales, the focus of 2013 legislation from Mr. Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.). The Senate narrowly blocked that bill, which would have expanded background checks to all commercial sales, including all sales advertised online and at gun shows. Currently, the checks are needed only for sales by federally licensed dealers.
Democrats said they weren’t ready to call a halt to their efforts. Still, at some point, they will have to decide whether to bring legislation to the floor for a vote, even if it hasn’t secured enough support to pass. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has said that the chamber may hold a vote on gun legislation this month. Others involved in the talks said that could slip until later this summer as negotiations continue.