Congressional Democrats are providing early cover to President Obama on gun control ahead of a formal rollout of new executive actions.
Dems rally around Obama gun proposal
"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 DurbinGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Wikileaks: Durbin pushed unknown Warren for Obama bank regulator The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 MurphyObama takes aim at workers’ non-compete agreements Intelligence director: Withholding classified briefings from Trump, Clinton ‘not an option’ Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs 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 BlumenthalCalifornia National Guard official: Congress knew about bonus repayments Dems demand anti-LGBT language be taken out of defense bill Senate Dems want major women's golf event moved off Trump course MORE (D-Conn.) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), were also at the White House meeting.
Separately, Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedTop Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns Armani, Batali among guests at White House state dinner Overnight Finance: Jobless claims near record low | Cops bust IRS phone scam in India | Republican demands Iran sanctions docs 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 CornynPotential Cruz challenger: 'Don't close off your options' Report: Investor visa program mainly funds wealthy areas GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (R-Texas), the Republican whip, suggested that the president should focus on enforcing current gun laws, while Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanCures bill in jeopardy amid drug pricing push Brent Budowsky: An epic battle for the future of Congress NRCC ad touts GOP rep for bucking Trump MORE (R-Wis.) accused Obama of a "dangerous level of executive overreach."
Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDemocrats pounce on Cruz's Supreme Court comments Cruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Sanders to Justice Department: Block AT&T purchase of Time Warner 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 Manchin5 takeaways from the Pa. Senate debate Trump questions hound endangered Republican Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions 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 SchumerChasing away scalpers only hurts consumers Reid: 'I have set the Senate' for nuclear option Immigration was barely covered in the debates 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.