The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday delayed a markup of gun violence legislation for one week, giving lawmakers more time to strike a deal on background checks.
The delay appeared intended to give Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerHow the candidates for DNC chair stack up ahead of Saturday's vote DNC candidate Harrison drops out, backs Perez for chairman Ellison holds edge in DNC race survey MORE (D-N.Y.) more time to work out a deal with Republicans on legislation to expand background checks to cover private gun sales.
A sticking point in the talks has been the question of whether to require records of private gun sales. Republicans worry this could lead to a national gun registry and infringe on the privacy of gun owners.
Jessica Brady, a Democratic spokeswoman, said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyDem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy A guide to the committees: Senate Verizon angling to lower price of Yahoo purchase: report MORE (D-Vt.) decided to hold off on the markup. She said Leahy was delaying work "on behalf of members" and noted that Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator grilled over DeVos vote during town hall Big Pharma must address high drug prices ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate MORE (R-Iowa) had expressed concerns in his opening remarks.
However, Schumer does not have a deal with Republican senators on background checks for private sales of guns, and delaying the markup would give those lawmakers more time to negotiate.
Republicans said they had nothing to do with the delay.
A GOP aide said Grassley, the ranking Republican on the panel, had expressed concern about judicial nominees and did not ask for a postponement of the gun bills.
“Republicans did not hold over the gun legislation, Republicans only asked to hold over the nominees. Sen. Leahy held over the bills himself,” said Beth Levine, a spokeswoman for Grassley
The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled Thursday to mark up a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, sponsored by Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinA guide to the committees: Senate Dem: Trump's China trademark looks like a quid pro quo Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (D-Calif.), as well as legislation sponsored by Leahy to combat the straw purchase of firearms, and a measure introduced by Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCarly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report Democrats vie for chance to take on Trump as California governor MORE (D-Calif.) to increase federal grants for school safety.
Feinstein's assault weapons ban is expected to pass the committee but will likely fail on the Senate floor because of staunch opposition from Republicans and lack of support from Democrats running for reelection next year in conservative-leaning states.
The centerpiece of the gun-violence package is the expansion of background checks, a top priority of President Obama.
Schumer has described background checks as the "sweet spot" for a bipartisan deal on gun safety.
But many Republicans are skeptical of expanding background checks, which the National Rifle Association, a powerful interest group, opposes.
Coburn over the weekend disputed a report that he and Schumer are close to a deal.
"I don't think we're that close to a deal," Coburn said on Fox News Sunday.
— Published at 10:46 a.m. and updated at 4:33 p.m. The headline was changed to reflect new information.