Grim

04.16.13

Checking Back in on Guns

The good guys' side seems to have lost mo in the last couple of days. Some Republican senators who voted for cloture to permit a vote have now said, much as I anticipated last week, that well, they were willing to vote to allow debate, but once that debate ends, of course they're voting no.

Some control advocates had certain hopes for Bob Corker of Tennessee. Corker of Tennessee is not way out there on Mike Lee's planet, to be sure. He actually talks to Democrats about substance. But having done that, he always votes no. And he said the other day that he'll vote no on this.

Now, remember, there's another cloture vote coming, to end debate and proceed to final passage (actually, there could be cloture votes on the amendments, too, but let's not get too bogged down in procedure). So if people like Corker vote for a final vote, so to speak, the thing could actually pass. Sargent:

But all of these details aside, it needs to be restated that these Senators have the option of voting Yes on breaking the filibuster, while voting No on the final vote. In that scenario, the proposal would likely pass with a simple majority. And so, if these Senators continue to hold out, they need to be pressed on whether they really think a proposal that has the support of eight in 10 Americans doesn’t deserve a straight up or down vote, at a time when the Newtown slayings have focused public attention on a problem that continues to claim the lives of thousands of Americans per year. Whatever their final vote, there’s no excuse for them to enable and participate in GOP obstructionism of a proposal with near universal public support.

So passage in the Senate remains possible. But now consider the House. Have a gander at this quote, from a National Journal story:

“If it’s an 80-plus vote in the Senate, it’s going to be hard to slow down over here,” a House GOP leadership aide said. On the other hand, if the bill barely makes it out of the upper chamber, “that’s when we can really take a look at what the Senate sent us with a magnifying glass,” the aide said.

An 80-plus vote! So in other words, if "only" 70 senators support the bill--a total impossibility--the House might just blow it off. Well, not quite. But what this person means is, if it passes with 51, 52 votes, the House is going to pick it apart. Maybe Boehner won't allow a vote at all. Or maybe, if he feels he can get 30 Democrats to join every Republican, he can make Wayne LaPierre really happy and shut gun-control efforts down for the next few years.