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McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform

McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate blocks bill that opponents say weakens water pollution rules Pittsburgh police told to prepare for protests over potential Mueller firing: report Senate repeals auto-loan guidance in precedent-shattering vote MORE (R-Ky.) is moving to banking reform legislation — not gun control or other responses to the high school shooting in Florida — next week in the Senate.

McConnell has filed a motion to have a procedural vote Tuesday on legislation sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoOvernight Finance: Mulvaney asks Congress to retake power over consumer agency | Backs House in fight over Dodd-Frank rollback | Why Corker thinks tax cuts could be one of his 'worst votes' ever | House panel advances IRS reform bills Mulvaney backs House efforts to amend Senate Dodd-Frank rollback Overnight Finance: Trump thanks Xi for promises on trade | McConnell urges GOP to call Trump about tariffs | China files WTO case against tariffs | GOP dismisses report tax law will add .9T to debt | What to expect from Mulvaney hearing on CFPB MORE (R-Idaho). After that, McConnell hopes to move to legislation addressing sex trafficking, according to GOP sources.

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Legislation addressing the Florida high school shooting, the subject of contentious conversations between President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems add five candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ program White House notifies Russia that no new sanctions are coming: report Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug MORE and GOP lawmakers at a White House meeting televised live on cable news Wednesday, will wait.

A Senate GOP aide said a limited bill to strengthen background checks for firearms purchases could come to the floor at any moment as soon as Democrats agree to let it move forward.

McConnell on Tuesday blamed Democrats for preventing the proposal, sponsored by Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynTrump's NASA nominee advances after floor drama Senate GOP wary of new tax cut sequel Amid struggle for votes, GOP plows ahead with Cabinet picks MORE (R-Texas) and Democratic Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDems give muted praise to Pompeo-Kim meeting Dem senators unveil expanded public option for health insurance Overnight Defense: Lawmakers worry over Syria strategy | Trump's base critical of strikes | Flake undecided on Pompeo | Coast Guard plans to keep allowing transgender members | GOP chair wants to cut B from Pentagon agencies MORE (Conn.), from coming to the floor.

“We tried to get it cleared yesterday, but the Democratic leader objected,” McConnell said.

Democrats vigorously dispute that and say that conservatives led by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeKey senators warn Trump of North Korea effort on Syria Rep. Jordan: Action in Syria ‘should be debated in Congress’ Congress has a 'second chance' for bipartisan criminal justice reform MORE (R-Utah) objected to moving the Cornyn-Murphy bill.

Either way, that legislation is not seen as a huge step on gun violence by most lawmakers. It would give local and federal authorities more incentive to report relevant information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Trump on Wednesday suggested that additions should be made to the bill as he spoke with Cornyn.

Yet even that legislation has its opponents in the Senate.

Conservative Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump downplays concerns over Pompeo confirmation: He'll be a great secretary of State Senators demand info on unusual surveillance activity in DC The Hill says goodbye to 50 Most Beautiful MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday said he had serious due process concerns over the potential that veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress symptoms could be blocked as a group from buying firearms.

“You can’t take gun rights away in bulk. If you say everyone that has PTSD that’s a veteran, all their data will be dumped into a database and it will show up on a background check, that’s a problem,” he said.

“I’m for taking away gun rights from violent people but you have to do it one at a time, you can’t do it in bulk,” he said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCorker won’t campaign against Democrat running for Tennessee Senate seat Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush James Comey’s history of misconduct  MORE (D-N.Y.) says he supports the Fix NICS legislation but warned earlier this week that it falls far short of what is needed to stop mass shootings such a the one that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

“If that is all Congress does, we won’t have done our job to keep America’s families safe,” he said.

He called the bill “fine” but “certainly not enough.” 

Republicans are divided over what to do on gun legislation.

Some Republicans such as Lee, Paul and Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) say the Fix NICS bill is flawed.

Other Republicans, such as Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's NASA nominee advances after floor drama Senate GOP wary of new tax cut sequel GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems MORE (Ariz.), want to go further by also raising the age requirement for buying rifles from age 18 to 21.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyWH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying MORE (R-Pa.) thinks his bill co-sponsored with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate blocks bill that opponents say weakens water pollution rules GOP Senate hopeful convicted after mining disaster files to vacate conviction Senate repeals auto-loan guidance in precedent-shattering vote MORE (D-W.Va.) to extend mandatory background checks to include sales at gun shows and over the internet, should get priority. 

Many Republican senators, however, say they oppose rising the mandatory age for buying rifles or requiring background checks for gun shows and online sales.