How many House Republicans will end up supporting the Senate gun bill?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

I’m just playing around by using the Cheney screen cap. Call her a RINO all you like for her work on the January 6 committee but she continues to vote conservative on policy. She’ll find a reason not to support the Senate deal on guns.


But not all Republicans will. How many do we think will end up voting with the Dems on this?

I’d set the line at around 15, expecting a mix of looming retirees and purple-district Republicans who need to cover their left flank on gun policy before they face voters this fall. For instance, now that she’s safely through her primary, would Nancy Mace see a benefit in her moderately Republican district from supporting this?

Either way, the House Republican leadership is an emphatic “no” on the bill.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana announced during a closed-door conference meeting on Wednesday that they are both a “no” on the Senate’s bipartisan gun deal, according to a source in the room.

House GOP conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York said in a statement she also plans to vote against the bill, meaning the top 3 members of House Republican leadership are all united in opposing the legislation.

House GOP leaders also plan to formally whip against the Senate’s bipartisan gun bill, according to Republican sources. A formal whip notice is expected to go out on Wednesday.

Three Republicans have already said they’ll vote yes. Two are Fred Upton and John Katko, both of whom have traditionally voted centrist and are — ta da — retiring this year after having voted to impeach Trump. The other is Tony Gonzales of Texas, a state where you wouldn’t expect to see many congressmen support a gun bill. But Gonzales doesn’t represent any ol’ district. He represents Uvalde.


Over in the Senate, John Cornyn made the case for the bill to his colleagues in a presentation today. Apparently, the other guy from Texas made a presentation too.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a McConnell ally who helped spearhead the deal, also presented a slideshow during the Senate GOP lunch Wednesday aimed at rebutting criticism from conservatives. Additionally, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proposed an alternative deal to the conference, according to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), that would give “more money for police in schools” and increase penalties on those who use firearms to commit a crime.

Cornyn’s first slide touted “conservative wins,” including funding for law enforcement, that it will “only impact violent criminals and those adjudicated as mentally ill” and that that the enhanced background checks for juveniles would sunset after 10 years, a source familiar with his presentation told POLITICO.

Cornyn also used the slideshow to list provisions that were included in the bill at the request of the NRA, including money for hardening schools and exemptions to closing the so-called boyfriend loophole, which restricts the right to firearms for those who have abused their romantic partners, including that it would be retroactive.


I wonder how Cornyn felt about the junior senator from his own state trying to blow up the deal he brokered, having just spent significant political capital to try to get it done. Cruz has been straining for ways to Do Something in the aftermath of Uvalde that don’t involve any new restrictions whatsoever on guns, even suggesting so-called “door control” as an alternative. But more money to put cops in schools smells like a nonstarter at a moment when Texas papers are filled with stories about the failures of Uvalde police.

How would we benefit from hiring additional officers to stand around in a hallway while a lunatic uses 10-year-olds for target practice?

Mitch McConnell met the press after the presentation and put some skin in the game by endorsing the bill publicly:

“This time is different,” he went on to say. “This time the Democrats came our way and agreed to advance some common sense solutions without rolling back rights for law-abiding citizens.” Which is … true, actually. The final bill has been watered down to the point where even mild federal pressure on the states to pass red-flag laws is basically gone. To repeat a point from this morning: If you’re over 21, don’t have a juvenile record, and don’t physically abuse your significant other, the bill shouldn’t touch you at all.


But there are always grudges to settle and axes to grind, and so the bill must necessarily be treated by some as the first step on the path to communist dictatorship:

I’d be shocked if Trump knows what’s in the legislation beyond the barest details, but hating it is a no-brainer for populists eager to posture by flaying RINO establishment sellouts. It’s an easy purity test for figures whose appeal depends on perceived purity. And of course for Trump it’s an opportunity to inflict political pain on his nemesis McConnell, whom he’ll always resent for attacking him in a floor speech after the insurrection. Bad faith or not, though, Trump being strongly against the bill puts heavy pressure on House Republicans to fall into line with him or risk being called traitors or whatever instead. I bet Mace will vote no in the end. Maybe 15 was optimistic.

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