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 ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: EPA aims to work more closely with industry Overnight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill 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 ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial 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. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico 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 Coburn-trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Al Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit MORE (Okla.) and Mark KirkMark KirkGiffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Stale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Immigration critics find their champion in Trump 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 PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (Ky.); Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong How the effort to replace ObamaCare failed Overnight Regulation: Trump temporarily lifts Jones Act for Puerto Rico | Bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank | Senators unveil driverless car bill MORE (Utah); Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (Fla.); and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (Texas), have threatened to oppose any “vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa) is also crafting his own gun-violence bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposal.