By Ramsey Cox
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on a bipartisan sportsmen’s bill without any Republican amendments.
“I’m open to consideration of amendments to this bill,” Reid said Wednesday. “But they — the Republicans — can’t agree on what amendments they want.
"They want amendments because they want to kill the bill."
“I want to have an amendment process,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a lead sponsor of the bill, said Wednesday. “We need to have that input from our colleagues.”
On Monday, the Senate voted 82-12 to advance the legislation despite some opposition from Democrats who wanted gun control measures included.
Gun amendments were offered on both sides, forcing the possibility of difficult votes for vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in November.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act would also reauthorize wetland and fishing conservation programs and would allow online sales of duck stamps.
Democrats have used similar legislation before to try to help incumbents fighting for reelection.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced a similar bill while he was up for reelection in 2012, but Republicans filibustered it.
This year, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) was the lead sponsor of the bill, which was meant to help several red-state Democrats in tough reelection races. Co-sponsors include four other Dems who, like Hagan, are facing difficult reelection races in 2014: Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Udall (Colo.).
Reid said the next piece of legislation the Senate will consider is S. 2244, which extends the terrorism insurance program. Reid said he hopes the Senate is more successful in passing that and a Highway Trust Fund fix because not doing so would negatively affect the economy.