Senate ends gun control filibuster, but GOP still skeptical of bill
In a bipartisan vote Thursday, the Senate voted to override a filibuster and proceed with debate on a package of gun control bills. But support for debate doesn't mean support for the bill.
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“There has not been a meaningful discussion on the floor of this body about these kinds of reasonable limitations for a very long time,” says Senator Kaine, who unsuccessfully fought to close the gun-show loophole as Virginia’s governor in the aftermath of the shooting at Virginia Tech. “It’s almost like the latter-day gag rule. It’s the topic that cannot be discussed.... We’re opening the door for full discussion and for a full vote.”Skip to next paragraph
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Several Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee, voted for the measure with the caveat that they believed the debate should continue – not that they were anywhere near supporting the underlying legislation.
On the Democratic side, Sens. Mark Begin of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, both up for election in 2014 in deeply red states, voted against the measure, with Senator Begin decrying the existing legislation as “anti-gun” in a statement.
What was settled on Thursday, was that a supermajority of senators wanted the debate to go forward without the delay of rerouting the process around a filibuster. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada had vowed to use Senate parliamentary procedure to ensure votes on gun bills even if senators failed to break the filibuster Thursday.
But attempting to block even debate on the bill was abhorrent to some Senate Republicans.
Senator Cruz responded that standing in the way of bad legislation was worth doing no matter what.
“What I think is unfortunate is Washington sometimes devolves into a political circus that isn’t focused on actually fixing the problem – that’s not focused on actually stopping violent crime, punishing violent criminals, but instead on passing legislation or promoting legislation that makes a big splash but doesn’t do anything to prevent crime,” Cruz said after the vote.