Barring last-minute schedule changes, the Senate votes on nine, count ’em nine, amendments to Reid’s gun-control bill starting at 4 p.m. ET. Manchin/Toomey goes first, then comes the GOP’s alternate bill. Cornyn’s bill on concealed-carry reciprocity will follow a bit later, then Feinstein’s assault-weapons ban and a vote on banning high-capacity magazines, among others. If you can’t get C-SPAN 2 on your TV, you can watch it here. With Ayotte and Heitkamp having finished off Manchin-Toomey, the only major bill whose outcome is a mystery right now is the GOP alternative. Will Dems kill that in retaliation and hand Republicans a talking point about opposition to new gun laws being bipartisan, or will they send it to the House on the “something’s better than nothing” theory? Either way, here’s your thread to comment; stand by for updates and the roll call for each vote.
Actually, the real action will come after the votes when Obama and Reid have to somehow manage their rage in the teeth of total failure. Which makes me wonder: Will Reid try to minimize the embarrassment by pulling any of these amendments at the eleventh hour? It’s a tough vote for the Pryors and Landrieus of the Senate. Why force them and make their reelection campaigns harder, be it in the general or the primary? The White House’s goal from the beginning was to try to hold Senate Democrats together so that they could blame any resulting filibusters entirely on the GOP in the midterms, but Heitkamp et al. are on the verge of blowing that strategy up. I take it that’s why Reid’s decided to support the assault-weapons ban now even though he knows it’s doomed. He’s failed badly on gun control and the left won’t be happy about it. The least he can do is vote for their pet amendment.
Update: Toomey/Manchin is kaput, and with it any chances of O and Reid getting something passed. The vote was 54/46; I’ll double-check when the roll is up but it looks from Twitter like Democrats Baucus, Begich, Pryor, and Harry Reid all voted no. (Reid did so for procedural reasons, so that he can move to reconsider the bill later.) McCain and Toomey both voted yes among Republicans and I believe Mark Kirk and Susan Collins were also committed to doing so, which means there must be one other Democrat who voted no. It wasn’t Landrieu; she voted yes, as her constituents in Louisiana will soon be learning. I’ll update when I have the name. In the meantime, the GOP’s replacement bill is next.
Update: Here you go. I forgot that Heitkamp was also a no among the Democrats.
Rs who voted for Manchin-Toomey amendment: Collins, Kirk, McCain, Toomey. Ds who voted against: Baucus, Begich, Heitkamp, Pryor and Reid.
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) April 17, 2013
Biden is in the Senate chamber, in the forlorn hope that he’ll be needed to cast a tiebreaking vote.
Update: Scarborough is grumpy:
Voters will have their say. Thumbing your nose at 90% of Americans never pays.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) April 17, 2013
Update: Highly unlikely that anything will pass today: The GOP alternative to Toomey/Manchin, sponsored by Grassley, Cruz, and Ayotte, among others, fails 52/48. Assuming all Republicans voted yes, that means seven Democrats joined them. The four who voted no on Toomey/Manchin are safe bets; who were the other three? Stay tuned.
Update: Let the 2014 campaign
President Obama to make statement on gun control measures at 5:30pm ET
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) April 17, 2013
Update: Piers Morgan shows the yanks what a stiff upper lip looks like:
Imagine those Newtown family members at the Senate today – suddenly realising their lawmakers don't give a stuff about their dead children.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 17, 2013
Update: If you thought Scarborough was grumpy, here’s the statement from Bloomberg’s gun-grabber group:
“Today’s vote is a damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington. More than 40 U.S. senators would rather turn their backs on the 90 percent of Americans who support comprehensive background checks than buck the increasingly extremist wing of the gun lobby. Democrats – who are so quick to blame Republicans for our broken gun laws – could not stand united. And Republicans – who are so quick to blame Democrats for not being tough enough on crime – handed criminals a huge victory, by preserving their ability to buy guns illegally at gun shows and online and keeping the illegal trafficking market well-fed. Senators Manchin and Toomey – as well as Majority Leader Reid and Senators Schumer, Kirk, Collins, McCain and others – deserve real credit for coming together around a compromise bill that struck a fair balance, and President Obama and Vice-President Biden deserve credit for their leadership since the Sandy Hook massacre. But even with some bi-partisan support, a common-sense public safety reform died in the U.S. Senate at the hands of those who are more interested in attempting to protect their own political careers – or some false sense of ideological purity – than protecting the lives of innocent Americans. The only silver lining is that we now know who refuses to stand with the 90 percent of Americans – and in 2014, our ever-expanding coalition of supporters will work to make sure that voters don’t forget.”
Update: Here comes the vote on Cornyn’s bill that would force states to recognize concealed-carry permits issued by other states. Chances of passage: Zero.
Update: As expected, Cornyn’s reciprocity amendment failed — but it ended up getting more votes than Toomey/Manchin:
Baucus, Begich, Donnelly, Hagan, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Landrieu, Udall and Udall are Dems who voted FOR conceal carry. Has over 40 "no"s tho
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) April 17, 2013
Here comes the assault-weapons ban. Over/under is 51 votes.
Update: Holy cow. The AWB goes down 40/60. Remember a few weeks ago when Reid claimed they didn’t have even 40 votes for it? He wasn’t kidding. They barely ended up with that much.
It’ll be a few minutes before the roll is up, but assuming Republicans voted against it unanimously, that means no fewer than 15 Democrats joined them. Yowza.
Update: Let the recriminations begin: Gun-control lobbyists are already grumbling about Joe Manchin giving up hope for his bill publicly this morning.
Update: If nothing passed today, the original bill’s surely not going to pass tomorrow. Reid bows to reality:
Reid will pull the entire gun bill from floor, likely tomorrow. No final vote. It will remain on leg calendar. Brought up some other time.
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) April 17, 2013
Update: Here’s the roll for the GOP’s alternative bill that failed earlier. Mike Lee ended up voting no with the Democrats; Baucus, Begich, Donnelly, Hagan, Landrieu, McCaskill, Pryor, and Tester voted yes with the GOP. And here’s the roll on Cornyn’s concealed-carry amendment, which ended up with 57 votes. Same Dems voted with the GOP this time too, plus Heinrich, Manchin, and the two Udalls. Still waiting for the AWB roll.
Update: Finally, here’s the roll on the AWB. Just one Republican, Mark Kirk, voted yes. The 16(!) Democrats (including Angus King, a nominal independent) voting no: