Boxer: 'What is taking so long' for the Senate to pass gun-control reforms

Boxer criticized some of her Republican colleagues, lead by Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeGOP senator unveils regulatory budget bill Senate set for showdown over women in the draft Overnight Finance: Path clears for Puerto Rico bill | GOP senator casts doubt on IRS impeachment | Senate approves .1B for Zika MORE (R-Utah) and Ted CruzTed CruzEleven states sue Obama over transgender bathroom directive Poll: Clinton leads Trump in Wisconsin by double digits Texas to sue over Obama's transgender bathroom directive MORE (R-Texas), for threatening to filibuster gun-control reform legislation that the Senate will likely start debating later this week.

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“The National Riffle Association has a right to their opinion, just as every senator does,” Boxer said. “But at some point we need to come together on commonsense legislation when 90 percent of the people support background checks. My God, what is taking so long for us to do that? 

“When 90 percent of the people agree with background checks, let’s embrace that idea. Who care who wrote the legislation, let’s protect those children.”

The Senate gun reform bill would expand background checks on gun purchases, create new penalties on straw purchases and include new funding for school security. Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for gun-control reforms even more since the December shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six school employees were killed by a gunman. 

The Senate bill doesn’t include an assault weapons ban or limits on magazine clip capacity — although Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidGOP senator: Reid's 'ramblings' are 'bitter, vulgar, incoherent' Reid: We're not breaking the budget deal Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (D-Nev.) promised to hold a vote on those provisions as an amendment. Boxer said she would support the assault weapons ban as an addition to the Senate package.

Republicans have expressed concern that extending background checks could create a federal registry of gun owners and make it harder for family members to transfer firearms. Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinHow Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform Red-state Dem hits back over coal, court attacks How Senate Democrats are trying to deal with Sanders MORE (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are negotiating a possible adjustment to the background checks portion, to ensure gun sales between family members aren’t affected. Boxer said that she thinks Reid should advance the bill regardless of whether the deal is reached.

“I am hoping that Sen. Manchin and Toomey can come together because that would be a break through,” Boxer said. “But whether that agreement is forthcoming or not, we have to take up this bill. … We need to respond to 90 percent of the people otherwise I don’t know who we’re representing here. We cannot fail the test.”

Sen. Charles GrassleyChuck GrassleyDefense bill renews fight over military sexual assault Reid knocks GOP over 'light' Senate schedule Overnight Tech: Facebook finds no bias but vows to change trending feature MORE (R-Iowa) is also crafting his own gun violence bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposal.

President Obama has launched a public effort to rally support for gun control, visiting states that have enacted tougher laws and speaking with families of victims of gun violence. Some surviving family members of the Newtown killings are returning to Washington, D.C., with Obama on Air Force One Monday evening in order to persuade senators to take action this week.

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