Filibuster fails: Senate votes to open debate on gun-control bill, thanks to 16 Republicans

I use the term “gun-control bill” loosely because … no bill exists yet. But let’s not let procedural niceties deter us from Doing Something. Among the 68 who voted to proceed on the bill this morning are 16 Republicans. Per Chad Pergram:



Democrats voting against proceeding: Just two, Mark Pryor and Mark Begich. Everyone else in the caucus except for Frank Lautenberg, who was absent, voted yes. A message to red-state Dems (and aisle-crossing Republicans) from the NRA:

We hope the Senate will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools. Should it fail to do so, the NRA will make an exception to our standard policy of not “scoring” procedural votes and strongly oppose a cloture motion to move to final passage of S. 649.

Whole lotta NRA ratings are going down tomorrow. Toomey’s reportedly telling friends that he hopes for for six to eight Republican votes to beat the next filibuster on cloture (although Mark Kirk appears to be the only sure thing right now). That’s possible, but is it possible to get to 60 with “only” that number of Republicans? You’d need at least five even if the Democratic caucus votes unanimously, and that’s a big if given the pressure on Pryor, Baucus, Landrieu, and Begich to block the bill. I can even almost imagine a scenario where Reid gets 60 votes for cloture and then the bill fails on the final up-or-down vote. There’ll be plenty of centrists, starting with the red-state Dems I just named, who’ll be looking to please both sides by casting a yes vote on cloture to beat the GOP’s filibuster and then a no on the bill itself to prove their pro-gun bona fides. If the GOP votes no as a bloc on the final vote, you’d need just six Democrats to join them to kill this thing. But Reid won’t allow that humiliation to happen. Presumably, if he knows he can’t get to 50, he’ll pull the bill. Stay tuned. Exit quotation via WaPo:


For Manchin, that agreement was the payoff from months of relationship-building with Republicans, including nights of pizza and beer on a senator-stuffed boat called the Black Tie. The final deal was worked out over the past week, and concluded late Tuesday with a huddle at a rooftop birthday party for TV host Joe Scarborough.

Update: DrewM e-mails with a fair point. There is a bill — the main gun-control bill that Reid’s been pushing. There’s no Toomey/Manchin bill yet, but that’ll be added as an amendment to the main bill later.

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