“Mental health problems often begin at a young age — however, less than half of the children identified with mental health issues receive treatment,” Harkin said ahead of the vote. “This lack of treatment has consequences. ... The shame in this is that with access to the right treatment and supports, people can lead healthy and productive lives.”
GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) opposed the amendment.
The Senate voted on nine amendments to the gun control bill, only two of which reached a 60-vote threshold. An amendment from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that enhanced privacy protections for gun owners passed moments before Harkin and Alexander's amendment.
On Wednesday, the Senate turned away proposals expanding background checks, an assault weapons ban, banning high-capacity clips and preserving gun rights for veterans, among others.
The rejection of the bipartisan background check amendment from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) essentially killed the chances of passing the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, S.649, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. Some GOP senators have said the bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun owners.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) now has to decide if Democrats want to table the legislation or continue to work out party differences on the floor.