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Congressional Democrats are providing early cover to President Obama on gun control ahead of a formal rollout of new executive actions.
"The president has a list of things he can do — it won’t solve all these problems by a long shot, but it moves us in the right direction," Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinJustice requires higher standard than Sessions Warren burns Mnuchin over failure to disclose assets Trump Treasury pick to defend foreclosure record MORE (D-Ill.), the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, said Monday evening in a statement.
The Illinois senator was part of a group of congressional Democrats who met with Obama on his planned executive actions, which the president will formally announce from the White House on Tuesday.
Obama's proposal is expected to include requiring background checks for guns sold at guns shows or over the internet, asking for funding for an additional 200 federal agents to help enforce guns laws as part of his fiscal 2017 budget, and increasing access to mental health care.
Sen. Chris MurphyChris MurphyGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Live coverage of Trump's inauguration Dem senator: DeVos ‘sends shivers down the spine’ MORE (D-Conn.), who called on Obama to expand background checks earlier Monday, said that he "left the White House today thinking that President Obama just gets it."
Murphy, as well as Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era Buying that new-used car: Congress must put safety first Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick MORE (D-Conn.) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), were also at the White House meeting.
Separately, Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedSenate seeks deal on Trump nominees Senate seeks deal on Trump nominees Senate panel easily approves waiver for Mattis MORE (D-R.I.), the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, called Obama's forthcoming proposal "sensible," suggesting that Congress should also pass legislation.
But Obama's moves are also coming under fire from Republican leadership.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era The new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch Top GOP senator warns of weekend work on Trump nominees MORE (R-Texas), the Republican whip, suggested that the president should focus on enforcing current gun laws, while Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP waiting to hear from Trump on ObamaCare Five takeaways from Trump's inauguration Hispanic Caucus members slam Trump after inaugural address MORE (R-Wis.) accused Obama of a "dangerous level of executive overreach."
Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator: Trump budget chief could face confirmation 'problems' Jeff Sessions will protect life Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes MORE (R-Iowa), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that it should be up to Congress to pass legislation, and that he's currently working with Durbin on legislation to "prevent all non-citizens who aren't legal permanent residents from purchasing guns."
Republican lawmakers could try to use legislation to thwart any executive action, though it would likely garner a veto from the White House.
Democrats have refocused on gun control in the wake of a string of mass shootings, pledging to move legislation in early 2016. Any proposal, however, faces an unlikely path in a Republican-controlled Congress.
A 2013 proposal from Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Cybersecurity: Dems split on Manning decision | Assange looking to make deal What we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Manning commutation sparks Democratic criticism MORE (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to expand background checks failed to overcome a procedural hurdle, with a handful of red-state Democrats voting against the measure. The two senators tried to attach the proposal late last year to an ObamaCare repeal package, but again fell short.
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDemocrats and the boycott of Trump's inauguration The Hill's 12:30 Report Why Democrats fear a successful inaugural address from Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) suggested that the inability to get legislation passed in recent years has effectively forced Obama's hand.
"The vast majority of Americans will welcome Presidential action to break the unnatural vice grip that the [National Rifle Association] has over safety in America," Schumer, expected to be the next Democratic leader, added.