Senators have renewed efforts to spearhead a bipartisan agreement on expanding background checks, raising hopes a deal can be reached as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer: 'Goal' is to pass Biden spending bill before Christmas The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back This week: Congress starts year-end legislative sprint MORE (W.Va.) and his GOP colleague Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) are working on language that would expand checks on firearm sales at gun shows and over the Internet.
Their preliminary proposal, still in talks, would exclude gun sales between family members and temporary transfers for those with a hunting license, according to Senate aides close to negotiations, assuaging GOP concerns, the Post first reported Sunday night.
Spokesmen for the senators told the Post that the lawmakers were speaking to their colleagues about their efforts, but declined to confirm details of the plan.
A deal brokered by Manchin and Toomey could bolster the prospects for passing gun control in the Senate.
Both senators hold strong ratings from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and could play a key role in winning support from red-state Democrats and conservative Republicans wary of backing gun control.
Their talks come as Congress returns from its two-week Easter recess, with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidVoters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama Mellman: Are independents really so independent? MORE (D-Nev.) poised to move a gun control bill on the Senate floor.
The bill includes language to expand background checks drafted by Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers take aim at 'Grinches' using bots to target consumers during holidays Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Schumer mourns death of 'amazing' father MORE (D-N.Y.) after his efforts to craft a bipartisan proposal fell short.
GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that the Schumer plan could create a federal registry of gun owners and make it harder for family members to transfer firearms.
Manchin, along with GOP Sens. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnBiden and AOC's reckless spending plans are a threat to the planet NSF funding choice: Move forward or fall behind DHS establishes domestic terror unit within its intelligence office MORE (Okla.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (Ill.) worked with Schumer in his efforts on background checks before negotiations stalled, but reports have said the senators have continued to discuss the issue.
Reid is open to changing the bill’s language if Manchin and Toomey strike a deal, according to aides who spoke to the Post, but it is unclear if the Senate leader would delay moving the bill to give talks more time.
The Senate gun bill also includes provisions to toughen penalties on straw traffickers, which holds bipartisan support and provides more funding for school safety programs.
Expanded background checks are a key element of the gun control measures backed by President Obama in the aftermath of the Newtown Conn., mass shooting in December. Obama has launched a public effort to rally support for gun control, visiting states that have enacted tougher laws in the aftermath of shootings and speaking with families of victims of gun violence.
On Monday, Obama will head to Connecticut to speak at the University of Hartford where he will again press for gun control. The state’s governor last week signed new legislation, implementing some of the strictest gun-ownership laws in the country in response to the school shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children.
But despite polls showing an overwhelming majority support expanding background checks, the measure faces an uphill climb in both the Senate and the GOP-controlled House.
A number of GOP senators, including Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' Paul, Cruz fire back after Fauci says criticism of him is 'dangerous' No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline MORE (Ky.); Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeNo deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall The congressional debate over antitrust: It's about time MORE (Utah); Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWisconsinites need infrastructure that is built to last Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Rubio: Dropping FARC from terrorist list threatens Colombians, US security MORE (Fla.); and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo On The Money — Biden stresses calm amid omicron fears MORE (Texas), have threatened to oppose any “vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”
Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Iowa Democrat drops bid to challenge Grassley after death of nephew Bipartisan senators press FBI, inspector general for changes following Nassar case MORE (R-Iowa) is also crafting his own gun-violence bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposal.