Sen. McCain: I ‘don’t understand’ GOP threats to filibuster Senate gun bill

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainHigh anxiety for GOP Trump: 'Very disappointed' GOP senator dropped support GOP senator: I'd consider Clinton Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday expressed opposition to possible GOP efforts to filibuster a Senate gun-control measure, saying he did not “understand” the move to block debate.

“I don’t understand it,” said McCain on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand.”

“What are we afraid of? Why would we not want… if this issue is as important as all of us think it is, why not take  it to one of the world’s greatest deliberative bodies – that’s one of the greatest exaggerations in history by the way – but you know why not take it up, an amendment and debate. The American people will profit from it,” said the Arizona senator.

“I don’t understand why United States senators want to block debate when the leaders said we could have amendments,” McCain added.

A number of GOP lawmakers, including Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulGOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election How low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? Lawmaker seeks to investigate Obama's foreign tax compliance law MORE (Ky.), Mike LeeMike LeeDonald Trump's Mormon PR problem Trump's big worry isn't rigged elections, it's GOP establishment GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (Utah), Marco RubioMarco RubioObama: Trump's rigged election talk 'not a joking matter' Obama: Trump and Putin have a 'bromance' Obama slams Rubio for Trump support MORE (Fla.), and Ted CruzTed CruzTrump steps up campaign spending in final stretch McMullin tops new poll of Utah voters Cruz: Voter fraud a challenge MORE (Texas) wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidPelosi blasts GOP leaders for silence on Trump Latinos build a wall between Trump and White House in new ad The true (and incredible) story of Hill staffers on the industry payroll MORE (D-Nev.) vowing that they would “oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.” 

Reid is planning to bring to the Senate floor this month legislation that would expand background checks, toughen penalties on straw purchasers of firearms and provide funding for school safety. But the background checks provisions have attracted opposition from GOP lawmakers after efforts to forge a bipartisan compromise faltered. 

The Senate vote comes as the White House is intensifying effort to pressure Congress to enact gun control, with Obama holding events with families of victims of gun violence and taking his message on the road to states which have experienced mass shootings.

Obama press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday said it would be “shameful” for Republicans to filibuster a gun-control bill.

The Senate measure, though, is unlikely to attract support in the GOP House and Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator: I'd consider Clinton Supreme Court pick Senior Verizon exec believes hack will affect Yahoo deal GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (R-Iowa) is also readying his own gun-control bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposal. 

Appearing with McCain, Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerImmigration was barely covered in the debates GOP leaders advise members to proceed with caution on Trump Senate Dems demand answers from Wells Fargo over treatment of military MORE expressed optimism that if the bill proceeded to the floor, a measure on background checks could pass.

“If we go to the floor, I’m still hopeful that what I call the ‘sweet spot’ background checks can succeed. We are working hard there. Sen. [Joe] Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. [Mark] Kirk [R-Ill.] have a few ideas that could modify the proposal.”

McCain said he would welcome a debate on background checks on the Senate floor.

“Everybody wants the same goal to keep the guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disabled. Background checks are being conducted. Are they sufficient, are there ways to improve those? Then I think that’s something that the American people and certainly Congress could be helped by if we have a vigorous debate and discussion,” said McCain.