Will Senate vote on gun control? Untangling the politics of filibusters (+video)
The outstanding question is whether the Senate can rally around universal background checks. Currently, the votes don't appear to be there, but Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia and Sen. Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania are negotiating a potential compromise amendment that could get bipartisan support.
In the meantime, the threat by Senator Paul and colleagues to block the progress of the bill is driving Senator Manchin batty.
Manchin has an A rating from the National Rifle Association and once famously shot a copy of a cap-and-trade bill in a campaign commercial, but he says the filibuster is pointless. Republicans had two long-standing issues about what would happen if the bill proceeded to debate: First, that amendments from both sides should be allowed in abundance, and second, that no bill would actually pass the Senate without a 60-vote supermajority. Both have been agreed to.
“I’ve agreed with Republicans that there should be an open amendment process. That’s been guaranteed. And for anyone to talk that they’re going to filibuster, when you’ve [been] given everything that you’ve asked for doesn’t make any sense to me,” he says. “We’re all big guys and big ladies, we can take the votes.”