No surprise but newsworthy insofar as I think this is the first time a Republican as prominent as McCain has talked openly about some new form of gun control passing Congress. If you’re not sure what he means when he refers to the plan Coburn and Schumer are working on, read this. They’re going to close the “gun-show loophole” but carve out exceptions for family transfers and maybe for people who’ve already been vetted for concealed carry. How many votes will there be for that? Well, they’ll start at 58: Coburn and Mark Kirk are part of the group that’s working on a compromise bill and McCain’s already hinting that he’s a yes, so add those three to the Democrats’ 55 (no Dem would dare oppose a measure that might complicate Obama’s “Republican obstructionism” message on gun control). Collins and Murkowski are always gimmes on big bipartisan initiatives too, so there you go — 60 votes for cloture, although there’s bound to be many, many more than that. Follow the last link for your reminder that expanded background checks is the one gun-control measure that polls fantastically well across party lines. Even Lindsey Graham, who needs to protect his right flank in case of a primary challenge in South Carolina next year, is open to some form of new background checks albeit not the Democratic plan. You might see a majority of House Republicans vote no, partly as a symbolic rejection of further gun-control regulations and partly to distinguish themselves from the squishy RINOs in the Senate for the benefit of red-district voters, but it’s going to pass that chamber too with bipartisan support. When push comes to shove, I think Boehner would rather violate the “Hastert Rule” and push this thing through with mostly Democratic votes than risk handing Obama a potential weapon for 2014 by rejecting something that even many Senate Republicans support.
Exit question: What’s the over/under on Senate votes? 85?