Senators have renewed efforts to spearhead a bipartisan agreement on expanding background checks, raising hopes a deal can be reached as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, according to a report in The Washington Post.

Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states Trump's Democratic tax dilemma Manchin eyed as potential pick for Energy secretary: report MORE (W.Va.) and his GOP colleague Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) are working on language that would expand checks on firearm sales at gun shows and over the Internet.

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Their preliminary proposal, still in talks, would exclude gun sales between family members and temporary transfers for those with a hunting license, according to Senate aides close to negotiations, assuaging GOP concerns, the Post first reported Sunday night.

Spokesmen for the senators told the Post that the lawmakers were speaking to their colleagues about their efforts, but declined to confirm details of the plan.

A deal brokered by Manchin and Toomey could bolster the prospects for passing gun control in the Senate. 


Both senators hold strong ratings from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and could play a key role in winning support from red-state Democrats and conservative Republicans wary of backing gun control.

Their talks come as Congress returns from its two-week Easter recess, with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (D-Nev.) poised to move a gun control bill on the Senate floor.

The bill includes language to expand background checks drafted by Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerDemocrats urge Trump to condemn Charlottesville violence Melania Trump on Charlottesville protests: 'No good comes from violence' It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (D-N.Y.) after his efforts to craft a bipartisan proposal fell short. 

GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that the Schumer plan could create a federal registry of gun owners and make it harder for family members to transfer firearms.

Manchin, along with GOP Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnAl Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit Congress, stop using our nation's military policy for political purposes MORE (Okla.) and Mark KirkMark KirkImmigration critics find their champion in Trump Trump's nominee to lead USAID has the right philosophy on international aid McConnell: Senate to try to repeal ObamaCare next week MORE (Ill.) worked with Schumer in his efforts on background checks before negotiations stalled, but reports have said the senators have continued to discuss the issue. 

Reid is open to changing the bill’s language if Manchin and Toomey strike a deal, according to aides who spoke to the Post, but it is unclear if the Senate leader would delay moving the bill to give talks more time.

The Senate gun bill also includes provisions to toughen penalties on straw traffickers, which holds bipartisan support and provides more funding for school safety programs.

Expanded background checks are a key element of the gun control measures backed by President Obama in the aftermath of the Newtown Conn., mass shooting in December. Obama has launched a public effort to rally support for gun control, visiting states that have enacted tougher laws in the aftermath of shootings and speaking with families of victims of gun violence.

On Monday, Obama will head to Connecticut to speak at the University of Hartford where he will again press for gun control. The state’s governor last week signed new legislation, implementing some of the strictest gun-ownership laws in the country in response to the school shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children.

But despite polls showing an overwhelming majority support expanding background checks, the measure faces an uphill climb in both the Senate and the GOP-controlled House.

A number of GOP senators, including Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulCurtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Glimmer of hope in bipartisan criminal justice reform effort Trump barrage stuns McConnell and his allies MORE (Ky.); Mike LeeMike LeeTrouble draining the swamp? Try returning power to the states Congress must act to protect data privacy before courts make surveillance even easier Five tough decisions for the GOP on healthcare MORE (Utah); Marco RubioMarco RubioScarborough: Trump has chosen the 'wrong side' THE MEMO: Trump reignites race firestorm RNC spokeswoman: GOP stands behind Trump's message 'of love and inclusiveness' MORE (Fla.); and Ted CruzTed CruzThe media couldn't be more blatant in distorting Trump's words on Charlottesville Curtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Kimmel: Let’s make Trump a king so he has no power MORE (Texas), have threatened to oppose any “vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyWhite House clarifies: We condemn all violence Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville Grassley reverses ‘expectation’ of Supreme Court vacancy this year MORE (R-Iowa) is also crafting his own gun-violence bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposal.