House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill

House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill
© Getty Images

In a shocking upset for House Democrats, Republicans managed Wednesday to amend a bill aimed at strengthening background checks on gun purchase to include language requiring that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) get notified when an undocumented immigrant attempts to purchase a gun. 

Democratic leadership failed to whip enough votes against the procedural hurdle, which passed by a 220-209 margin. Twenty-six Democrats joined Republicans during the floor vote.

ADVERTISEMENT

The ICE move was aimed at putting moderate Democrats in swing districts in a difficult position. 

"Hear me clearly — no matter what will be said in just a moment, no matter what the chairman or anyone else would say about this bill, if you vote no, you are voting to allow someone who should not have a firearm to get away with it and not be prosecuted for it," House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Internal Collins poll suggests he holds huge lead over incumbent Sen. Loeffler in Georgia special election Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in MORE (R-Ga.) said on the floor ahead of the vote, which was met with cheers from his GOP colleagues.

Judiciary Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-N.Y.) shot back at Collins's remarks, arguing the language was unnecessary since the bill they were voting on requires background checks on all firearm purchases with certain exception including gifts for family members and transfers for hunting, gun ranges or self-defense purposes.

"Now, along comes this motion to recommit which is a total red herring, having nothing to do with the purpose of the bill, and says someone who fails a background check because he's illegally in this country, you should report that to ICE," Nadler said during debate.

"Well, first of all, if he fails a background check because he's illegally in the country, that means the system knows he's illegally in the country. It means they already know that — so what's the point of reporting him?"

The defectors on the measure included Democratic Reps. Cindy AxneCindy AxneDemocrats blast consumer bureau over student loan oversight agreement with DeVos On The Trail: Anxious, excited Iowa Democrats face decision day Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for final vote on impeachment; 2020 Democrats make final push before Iowa causes MORE (Iowa), Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaModerate Democrat fends off liberal primary challenge in California  California Rep. Costa endorses Biden Group of House Democrats reportedly attended the White House ball MORE (Calif.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristBiden rise calms Democratic jitters Mnuchin details IRS challenges with cash-only marijuana businesses Democrats gear up for State of the Union protests as impeachment lingers MORE (Fla.), Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamHouse chairwoman diagnosed with 'presumed' coronavirus infection Capitol officials extend suspension of tourist access until May Second Capitol Police officer tests positive for coronavirus MORE (S.C.), Antonio DelgadoAntonio Ramon DelgadoHispanic Caucus campaign arm unveils non-Hispanic endorsements M ad buy praises swing-district Democrats' environmental work Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters MORE (N.Y.). Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Buttigieg, Sanders ahead in Iowa debacle Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa Biden announces statewide bus tour ahead of Iowa caucuses MORE (Iowa), Jared Golden (Maine), Josh Gotteimer (N.J.), Kendra HornKendra Suzanne HornOvernight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers Bipartisan lawmakers urge assistance for oil and gas workers Overnight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops MORE (Okla.), Andy Kim (N.J.) Conor Lamb (Pa.), Susie LeeSuzanne (Susie) Kelley LeeMORE (Nev.), Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOvernight Defense: Navy chief resigns over aircraft carrier controversy | Trump replaces Pentagon IG | Hospital ship crew member tests positive for coronavirus Navy chief resigns amid uproar over handling of aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Tammy Duckworth calls on acting Navy secretary to resign MORE (Va.), Ben McAdams (Utah), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyFlorida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid MORE (Fla.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonSNAP, airlines among final hurdles to coronavirus stimulus deal Pelosi: House 'not prepared' to vote remotely on coronavirus relief bill Lone Democrat to oppose impeachment will seek reelection MORE (Minn.), Max RoseMax RoseUS to label white supremacist group as terrorist organization for first time The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US officials expect 'saddest week,' glimmers of COVID-19 relief Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus MORE (N.Y.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse votes to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant policy Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation Group of Democrats floating censure of Trump instead of impeachment: report MORE (Ore.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillBiden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins Elbow bumps, Spock salutes: How Congress is dealing with coronavirus Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump, Congress struggle for economic deal amid coronavirus threat | Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol | Coronavirus emerges as 2020 flashpoint MORE (N.J.). Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinDemocrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus States see surge of scams, price-gouging tied to pandemic Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MORE (Mich.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerJuan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Security contractor Erik Prince reportedly recruited ex-spies to help Project Veritas infiltrate liberal groups Hillicon Valley: Barr offers principles to prevent online child exploitation | Facebook removes misleading Trump census ads | House passes bill banning TSA use of TikTok MORE (Va.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.) and Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Hispanic Caucus campaign arm unveils non-Hispanic endorsements Lone Democrat to oppose impeachment will seek reelection MORE (N.J.).

The amendment's passage marks the second victory for Republicans during a procedural vote. Earlier this year, they managed to amend a resolution on Yemen to include language condemning anti-Semitism.

The full bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases passed the House 240-190 on Wednesday, with eight Republicans backing the measure and only two Democrats voting against it.

“There's no reason to continue to make it easy for people who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms to acquire them,” Nadler said during debate on the floor ahead of the vote.

“By circumventing the background check process. H.R. 8 would close this dangerous loophole and save many, many lives."