Paul, Cruz promise filibuster on gun-control bill

posted at 8:01 am on March 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

A few weeks ago, Rand Paul revived the talking filibuster in a scene reminiscent of the Frank Capra classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He highlighted the Obama administration’s odd reluctance to state that it wouldn’t assassinate Americans on American soil with CIA-controlled drones for a full day, helped by fellow Senate Republicans such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, among others, and also by Senate Democrat Ron Wyden. The White House finally gave a more specific answer to the question, and Paul raised public awareness on the drone issue, although it’s arguable what effect that actually had.

If you liked the original, get ready for the sequel.  Paul and Cruz will inform Harry Reid this morning of their intent to filibuster the gun-control bill that Reid wants to bring to the floor for a vote, supposedly with bipartisan support:

Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are threatening to filibuster gun-control legislation, according to a letter they plan to hand-deliver to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office on Tuesday.

“We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” the three conservatives wrote in a copy of the signed letter obtained by POLITICO. …

Though they don’t use the word “filibuster” in the letter, the conservatives are leaving no doubt that they would filibuster on an initial procedural question — the motion to proceed.

Lee staged a test vote on the issue during consideration of the Senate budget last week. He tried to amend a point of order against gun control legislation to the budget but fell short. It needed a three-fifths supermajority and failed 50-49, needing 60 votes to pass. But the final tally emboldened Lee, Paul and Cruz because they were so close to a majority and a filibuster takes just 41 votes to sustain.

I’m not so sure Reid will mind this new effort.  He does already have a few Republicans on his side, including John McCain, and a filibuster would play into his strategy to paint the GOP as a party hijacked by its extremist backbenchers.  McCain didn’t help by calling both Paul and Cruz “wacko birds” shortly after the filibuster. Reid will have his eye on 2014, and a filibuster of a bill that doesn’t contain a controversial assault-weapons ban but instead consists of very popular expansion of background checks will provide plenty of fodder for that line of attack next year. Let’s not forget that expanded background checks are a lot more popular than drone strikes on American citizens.

It may even provide Reid fodder to revisit filibuster reform, although no one ever actually suggested ridding the Senate of the talking filibuster in any of the reform permutations.  The assumption was that Senators wouldn’t bother with an old-fashioned speechfest, straight out of Jimmy Stewart playbook.  They are difficult to sustain, and eventually Reid can wait out Paul and Cruz and get his floor vote, especially if other Republicans begin to worry about helping Reid out in the midterms.

In the end, though, the Senate version won’t go anywhere even if it does get a floor vote.  The House will not pass any version that requires firearm registrations, which is what Senate Democrats want to pass. A filibuster that focuses on that narrow issue may raise its profile in the same way that the previous filibuster did for drones, but it’s questionable whether that will move the needle — or whether it even needs to do so.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

McCain and Lindsay ready to launch another “wacko-bird” response in 4-3-2….

pilamaye on March 26, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Be prepared!

No eating or drinking prior..

Electrongod on March 26, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Depends!

If necessary.

Electrongod on March 26, 2013 at 8:03 AM

McCain is nothing but a Vichy Republican. He’s proved that time and again.

Nonetheless, while I do not agree with the bill, I say bring it to a vote and expose those who would vote to steal our freedom.

That includes the loathsome Mr. McCain and his pageboy Lindsey Graham.

Marcus Traianus on March 26, 2013 at 8:06 AM

That includes the loathsome Mr. McCain and his pageboy Lindsey Graham.

Marcus Traianus on March 26, 2013 at 8:06 AM

I really want to see McCain throw another of his now famous angry grimaces at a reporter asking him why he is not supporting the new breed of Republicans like Paul and Rubio, just so people can again see McCain for the over-the-hill cranky-pants stuck in the mud overdue for retirement dinosaur he really is!

pilamaye on March 26, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Wear better shoes this time Rand! Oh and lots and lots of 5 hour energy.

Thanks Senators :)

gophergirl on March 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Oh and instead of the “gang of six” I much rather prefer this “gang of three”.

gophergirl on March 26, 2013 at 8:19 AM

I’m not so sure Reid will mind this new effort. Reid will have his eye on 2014, and a filibuster of a bill that doesn’t contain a controversial assault-weapons ban but instead consists of very popular expansion of background checks will provide plenty of fodder for that line of attack next year. Let’s not forget that expanded background checks are a lot more popular than drone strikes on American citizens.

Yeah, but drone strikes on American citizens used to be more popular before Rand Paul’s filibuster. The dude is very persuasive when given that kind of a platform. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him swing more Americans in his favor on background checks and other supposedly popular gun control measures if he engages in another filibuster.

Doughboy on March 26, 2013 at 8:20 AM

How many sides will Paul be on for this issue?
Pro-life, except when he is not.
Anti-Amnesty, except when he is not.

I am hoping he sticks to one side…

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:21 AM

They can pass any damned law they want. Because of the Second Amendment, I can be counted on to not comply.

Liam on March 26, 2013 at 8:22 AM

McCain argh

cmsinaz on March 26, 2013 at 8:23 AM

McCain and Lindsay ready to launch another “wacko-bird” response in 4-3-2….

pilamaye on March 26, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Nah, they will team up with MerCowSky and Colins and override their filibuster with a 60 vote.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

I am hoping he sticks to one side…

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:21 AM

You realize there has only been one perfect person to ever walk the earth, right?

I’ll take ‘overwhelmingly on my team’ instead of ‘steadfastly opposed to me’ any day.

Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Nah, they will team up with MerCowSky and Colins and override their filibuster with a 60 vote.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

I don’t know. Grahamnesty has to run for reelection next year. He’s on very thin ice as it is with his amnesty push. Leena Micklewhite doesn’t have to run for 3 1/2 more years, and she may be feeling emboldened by her write-in victory last time around, but she better watch herself with any gun control measures. Alaskans likely won’t take kindly to that. Unfortunately McCain is a lost cause. He’ll be pushing 80 next time he’d have to run for reelection, so he may already be in his last term regardless.

Doughboy on March 26, 2013 at 8:27 AM

You realize there has only been one perfect person to ever walk the earth, right?

I’ll take ‘overwhelmingly on my team’ instead of ‘steadfastly opposed to me’ any day.

Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:25 AM

You do realize that when you give a politician an inch he takes your rights? Hold them to higher standards and make them behave.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Nah, they will team up with MerCowSky and Colins and override their filibuster with a 60 vote.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Collins is up next year. I don’t know if she has a serious primary challenger (sure hope so), but I would think that opposing gun control in a hunting state like Maine would not go over well.

Wethal on March 26, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Nah, they will team up with MerCowSky and Colins and override their filibuster with a 60 vote.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

It will be interesting to see if any Democratic Senator will vote against cloture, so that the House won’t have to ignore gun control legislation.

thuja on March 26, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Nah, they will team up with MerCowSky and Colins and override their filibuster with a 60 vote.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM
Collins is up next year. I don’t know if she has a serious primary challenger (sure hope so), but I would think that opposing voting for gun control in a hunting state like Maine would not go over well.

Sorry. Early. Need more caffeine.

Wethal on March 26, 2013 at 8:34 AM

You do realize that when you give a politician an inch he takes your rights? Hold them to higher standards and make them behave.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Are you actually arguing that every politician who does not fall 100% in-line with your views deserves to be replaced?

Is there a single person in your state who agrees with you on literally everything?

Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Paul will have plenty of ammo on this one. He could read Nanny Bloomie’s remarks over and over, putting in gun grab, carbon tax, 401K grab, and anything else the libs have planned for the next 3 and a half years.

Kissmygrits on March 26, 2013 at 8:41 AM

If nothing else, it’s good to see a few on our side stand up and fight, for a change.

NO to gun registration or anything that enables it. No. No. No. No. No.

petefrt on March 26, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Are you actually arguing that every politician who does not fall 100% in-line with your views deserves to be replaced?

Is there a single person in your state who agrees with you on literally everything?

Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Nope, just that they should be honest about their positions.

I am against amnesty, this is why I support legalizing illegal invader aliens who are already in this country.

See a problem with that statement? I certainly do.

I am pro life, so I support thousands of exemptions to a ban on abortion.

Again, see a problem with that statement? I certainly do.

Then he does the progressive left argument, DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN when it comes to legalizing drugs.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:44 AM

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 8:44 AM

I see problems with both statements, just as you do. The thing is though, Paul IS being honest about his positions. “Pro Life, with the following exceptions” IS a position, and he owns it. Agree or no, he’s told you what he believes.

“Do it for the children,” though, has got to be one of the dumbest ideas ever.

Ever.

Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Collins is up next year. I don’t know if she has a serious primary challenger (sure hope so), but I would think that opposing voting for gun control gun rights in a hunting state like Maine would not go over well.

Sorry. Early. Need more caffeine.

Wethal on March 26, 2013 at 8:34 AM

We got what you meant, but you still need a bit of correction.

Let’s call it what it is. dems do not support “gun control”. That sounds reasonable and sensible. They oppose gun rights that are specifically stated in our founding documents. This is a radical position for a politician to take.

Words matter. It’s time we used them properly.

Lost in Jersey on March 26, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Words matter. It’s time we used them properly.

Lost in Jersey on March 26, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I would respect the White House and the left so much more if they would simply say ‘we do not belive guns have a place in America today.’

Then, we’d be able to have an honest discussion. Instead, the right believes that every step the gun-control factions wish to take will lead to full confiscation. Indeed, several big names on the left (Gov. Cuomo, among them) have advocated precisely that.

Because the left refuses to negotiate in good faith – by accurately stating their goals – we will refuse to give an inch.

Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Hey let’s make criminals get background checks. If it works for guns why not crooks? Teach men NOT to rape as one wise lady suggested.

Herb on March 26, 2013 at 8:58 AM

I see problems with both statements, just as you do. The thing is though, Paul IS being honest about his positions. “Pro Life, with the following exceptions” IS a position, and he owns it. Agree or no, he’s told you what he believes.

“Do it for the children,” though, has got to be one of the dumbest ideas ever.

Ever.

Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Not really with respect to his abortion stance. He had his staff come out and rewrite what his position is. So, we are really left with a question mark as to how much exemptions there really are in his mind.

With respect to amnesty, if you look at his web page, he does not talk about legalizing illegal aliens. It still has the hard line position, but when he speaks more under the radar he certainly seems more open to amnesty while arguing his is not amnesty, just like McCain and Graham do.

He is still a cypher to me, I would prefer him to own his positions and defend them, instead of every time he is put on the spot by a reporter trying to put the thread through some twisted multiholed needle.

I think deep down he is father, on the outside he has spent massive amounts of effort to create a facade. Hence his statement, if you want to work in America we will MAKE room for you.

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

He works for the Citizens, not the people who want to come to America from outside. If you are an employer, and you cannot find a worker in this country, we will do our jobs and ensure you have access to the labor you need. Would have been the proper statement of a servant of the we the people.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

The House will not pass any version that requires firearm registrations, which is what Senate Democrats want to pass.

This is the point that needs to be driven home. The expansion of background checks WILL NOT work without firearm registration.

Reid could have introduced a national “Laura’s Law”, addressing problems of the mentally ill and their refusal to seek help/take medication.

But Reid and the rest of the libs don’t want to violate their rights.

GarandFan on March 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Who knew the Republic could hang on just two people with the cajones to stand up to the tyrants in waiting on the move.

http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/media/images/tankman.jpg

We’ve seen this courage before.

PappyD61 on March 26, 2013 at 9:02 AM

…..three, I guess. (Cruz/Paul/Lee).

and the Progressive tanks ready to roll.

PappyD61 on March 26, 2013 at 9:04 AM

…..three, I guess. (Cruz/Paul/Lee).

and the Progressive tanks ready to roll.

PappyD61 on March 26, 2013 at 9:04 AM

If it looks popular, there will be bandwagoneers joining too.

astonerii on March 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM

McCain and Lindsay ready to launch another “wacko-bird” response in 4-3-2….

pilamaye on March 26, 2013 at 8:03 AM

They remind me of those evil green pigs in the Angry Birds game anyway.

Myron Falwell on March 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Ed doesn’t seem quite on board with the filibuster, but I think the concerns are overstated. They’ll talk for part of a day, make their point, the Senate will pass it, then the bill will die. What’s the problem?

changer1701 on March 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Ed doesn’t seem quite on board with the filibuster, but I think the concerns are overstated. They’ll talk for part of a day, make their point, the Senate will pass it, then the bill will die. What’s the problem?

changer1701 on March 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM

It is political symbolism in that respect. But good political symbolism for conservatives, especially for those tired of people like Reince wishing to eradicate the conservative base out of the GOP.

Rand, Cruz and Lee all get the headlines, make their point, and show themselves as leaders. Even when the bill theoretically ‘passes’ the Senate, the bill symbolically ‘dies’ overall. So all three ‘win’ even as they really have little to no chance to stop it.

Note that this will be the case, unless Bohenor magically can make the bill pass without a majority of his own parties’ support. But hey, it’s not as if that hasn’t happened before under Bohenor’s watch. Oh, wait…

Myron Falwell on March 26, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Well Ed, you really covered the negatives of a filibuster well. Any positives?

Vince on March 26, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Man.

I’m a huge Rand Paul supporter…

…but to do this on the eve of finally achieving marriage equality is borderline homophobic.

(sarc)

budfox on March 26, 2013 at 9:39 AM

I sure wish there were more Rand Pauls’ and Ted Cruz’s in the Senate. We need fewer of the McCain/Graham Siamese twin combos. I’m hoping Kelly Ayotte came to her senses and saw the light and doesn’t try to graph herself in as Joe Lieberman’s replacement.

This insanity has to stop. Gun control is only a part of Obama and his toadie’s objectives. For a good review, Gen Boykin has some interesting comments.

Folks, we have the tail wagging the dog here with most of this liberal left thinking when you have two to three percent of the population telling the majority what they will do or believe and what they won’t.

Case in point, homosexual perversion of marriage. Civilizations since time began innately knew it was wrong and all of a sudden, we now have super enlightened intellects who are telling us they know better. That my friends is pure arrogance and a shaking of their fist at God. God calls it sowing to the wind and reaping the whirlwind.

iamsaved on March 26, 2013 at 9:50 AM

One big difference though is the loss of the element of surprise. Rand’s filibuster on the drone strikes came seemingly out of the blue with no advance notice, and was on a subject where — if it wasn’t Obama conducting the drone strikes — the big media outlets would have been hailing the person demanding the information as one of the greatest Seekers of Truth in American history.

In short, the media and Democrats were caught off guard the first time, and had no talking points at the ready to throw against Paul’s filibuster. This time it would be different — Paul and Cruz are basically announcing to the world “Hey! Watch Us! We’re Going to Filibuster!” which not only takes away the surprise factor but gives the Dems and the big media plenty of time to draw up their counter-attacks when it does occur. It might be better just to threaten it to get the issue in the spotlight and then just let the Senate kill the bill naturally, leaving the Dems and media stuck with a bunch of unused anti-filibuster talking points.

jon1979 on March 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM

The White House finally gave a more specific answer to the question, and Paul raised public awareness on the drone issue, although it’s arguable what effect that actually had.

Here’s your friend David Weigel arguing the other side.

God, I can’t believe I’m using David Weigel to point out Ed’s second effort at bald assertion is somewhat of a crock. And it’s from Slate, Ugh.

Dusty on March 26, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Mark Kelly learns what perfect justice is.
http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2013/03/gun-dealer-refuses-to-be-used-for.html

onlineanalyst on March 26, 2013 at 10:13 AM

OT:

[onlineanalyst on March 26, 2013 at 10:13 AM]

Does bad news that comes in threes, too? ‘Cause here’s number two.

Dusty on March 26, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Because the left refuses to negotiate in good faith – by accurately stating their goals – we will refuse to give an inch.

[Washington Nearsider on March 26, 2013 at 8:58 AM]

I agree, but that is part of the problem in this pay scant attention society. The Dems maneuver the issue and the media sound bite it while the Republicans do nothing but oppose. It’s not good optics regardless of principle.

Republicans should have been out front in questioning gun free zones and discussing whether Congress should ban them. They should have started a conversation about shall issue and look question whether cities should be allowed to have onerous gun prohibitions.

Change what the issues are and should be and put the Dems on the defensive and always saying no.

Contrary to the elite establishment thinking that filibusters don’t change the public’s opinion and downplaying it’s usefulness, I think it’s a great tactic to get the subject debated in the Senate for once and on terms that are beneficial to us.

Dusty on March 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

but instead consists of very popular expansion of background checks

This just shows the idiocy of depending on polling data when it comes to constitutional rights. When you actually explain the mechanics of universal background checks, the unenforceability… the cost involved and the hassle involved for people who don’t live near a FFL who is willing to perform them, support diminishes.

Wendya on March 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Repost from 3/25/13 QOTD:

POLITICO – Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are threatening to filibuster gun-control legislation, according to a letter they plan to hand-deliver to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office on Tuesday.

http://www.therightscoop.com/rand-paul-ted-cruz-and-mike-lee-threaten-to-filibuster-gun-control-legislation/

bluefox on March 26, 2013 at 12:28 AM

From Politico article: partial “Though they don’t use the word “filibuster” in the letter, the conservatives are leaving no doubt that they would filibuster on an initial procedural question — the motion to proceed.

Lee staged a test vote on the issue during consideration of the Senate budget last week. He tried to amend a point of order against gun control legislation to the budget but fell short. It needed a three-fifths supermajority and failed 50-49, needing 60 votes to pass. But the final tally emboldened Lee, Paul and Cruz because they were so close to a majority and a filibuster takes just 41 votes to sustain.

The Rightscoop link has more info and the link to Politico.

bluefox on March 26, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Reid could have introduced a national “Laura’s Law”, addressing problems of the mentally ill and their refusal to seek help/take medication.

But Reid and the rest of the libs don’t want to violate their rights.

GarandFan on March 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

How is this any less a nanny statism idea than Bloomberg and all that he does. You are willing to force people to get “help” and/or take powerful pharmaceuticals to alter their brain chemistry.

chemman on March 26, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Let’s not forget that expanded background checks are a lot more popular than drone strikes on American citizens.

Dare I suggest that a talking filibuster via Paul, Cruz and Lee could change a few minds on this issue? Ultimately this is what I know Ron Paul and now Rand have always wanted – extensive debate. Because they actually believe that if there were more arguing and yelling back and forth – that people saw – their side would win.

We also will have to wait and see what precisely they’ll be filibustering. If Rand and friends can stand up there and repeatedly explain how having a peaceful person with a gun in front of a killer is the best way to stop them, perhaps they change a few minds?

fatlibertarianinokc on March 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM

This has two points that will have a bearing on the future.

The only “Republicans” who are actively and openly opposing the Left in this country are Paul, Cruz, and a few others. They are doing so over the loud objection of the majority of the Institutional Republicans in the Senate; who cave in to the Democrats on every freaking issue.

I am not saying that they are perfect by any means; but if you are the base of the party who would you prefer? Someone who fights, and may lose but at least fights; or those who refuse to fight and attack those who do stand up for what you believe in.

If, in these days of institutionalized vote fraud, electoral politics is to have any meaning at all; then we need to have a SECOND party. Rand, Cruz, et. al. are, knowingly or otherwise, helping lay the foundations of a possible SECOND party that will stand and fight for what they believe in. That effort in itself is worth the filibuster and enduring the attacks by the Institutional Republicans.

But there is another reason to support them if you believe in the Constitution. The House cannot be depended upon to defend the Constitution against the Left. Every freaking victory that Obama has had since the January 1, 2013 fiscal surrender has occurred because the Institutional Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has led his core group of 40 or so to vote WITH NANCY PELOSI and against his own political caucus. We have to recognize that while the House Republicans may have a majority, that sufficient of the leadership will oppose that majority and work with the Democrats to give the Democrats actual control of the House. Thus, any defense the Constitution can get in the Senate is vital.

Subotai Bahadur

Subotai Bahadur on March 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Subotai Bahadur on March 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Very well stated. The only thing I would add is that Reid, Boehner and McConnell have given this Administration everything they have asked for. I can think of no bill those three have opposed and won.

As someone has said, “If you don’t fight, you’ll never win.”

So, yes I would have someone fight and lose than lose by not fighting. In other words, surrender!

Prayers and Kudos for Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and any others that are fighting!! If they win, we all win.

bluefox on March 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM