Senate panel delays gun bill markup for 1 week

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 (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDonald Trump Jr. headlines Montana Republican convention Montana's environmental lobby teams with governor to kill 600 jobs Dems allow separation of parents, children to continue, just to score political points MORE (D-N.Y.) more time to work out a deal with Republicans on legislation to expand background checks to cover private gun sales.

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Schumer is working with Sens. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnMr. President, let markets help save Medicare Pension insolvency crisis only grows as Congress sits on its hands Paul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism MORE (R-Okla.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Trump caves under immense pressure — what now? Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral Manchin up 9 points over GOP challenger in W.Va. Senate race MORE (D-W.Va.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThis week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill Trump attending Senate GOP lunch Tuesday High stakes as Trump heads to Hill MORE (R-Ill.) to reach an agreement that can muster 60 votes on the Senate floor.

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 Joseph LeahyOvernight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases Senators 'deeply troubled' military lawyers being used for immigration cases Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos 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 GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report Senate Dems call for Judiciary hearing on Trump's 'zero tolerance' Republicans agree — it’s only a matter of time for Scott Pruitt 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 Emiel FeinsteinChildren should not be human shields against immigration enforcement The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington Grassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report 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 Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response 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.