McConnell taps GOP senators to mull bipartisan legislation after shootings

 
McConnell, in a statement, said he discussed Trump's speech on Monday with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump fires back at Graham over Iran criticism Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE (R-S.C.), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Tenn.), and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick Wicker The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation GOP lawmaker: 'Dangerous' abuse of Interpol by Russia, China, Venezuela Suburban anxiety drives GOP on guns MORE (R-Miss.). 
 
"I asked them to reflect on the subjects the president raised within their jurisdictions and encouraged them to engage in bipartisan discussions of potential solutions to help protect our communities without infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights," McConnell said.
 
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McConnell's comments came after Trump called on the country to condemn white supremacy following the back-to-back mass shootings and threw his support behind new measures focused on mental illness rather than stricter gun laws.
 
Trump also talked up the need for lawmakers to work in a bipartisan fashion to respond to the shootings, saying, "We must seek real, bipartisan solutions."
 
"We have to do that in a bipartisan manner. ... Republicans and Democrats have proven that we can join together in a bipartisan fashion to address this plague," Trump said.
 
McConnell added in his statement that "Senate Republicans are prepared to do our part."
 
Wicker, in a statement, confirmed that he had spoken with McConnell and echoed the GOP leader's call for bipartisanship, saying, "It will be important for any solution we consider to be able to pass the Senate and the House and earn the president’s signature." 
 
Alexander, in a string of tweets, said he was "ready to do more, especially on background checks, to identify those who shouldn’t have guns."
 
Some GOP senators have talked up the need for legislation in the wake of the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which left at least 31 people dead.
 
Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) said he spoke with Trump on Monday about expanded background check legislation. Meanwhile, Graham said he had reached a deal with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on "red flag" legislation, while Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Fla.) is urging Graham to give his own "red flag" bill a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
 
McConnell is also under growing pressure from Democrats to call the Senate back from the August recess in order to work on gun legislation, which faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled chamber.
 
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Democrats will 'certainly' beat Trump in 2020 Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE (D-Calif.) said on Monday in a "Dear Colleague" letter that the House would come back from recess "if the Senate sends us back an amended bipartisan [background check] bill or if other legislation is ready for House action." The House passed a bill to require universal gun background checks earlier this year.
 
McConnell took a veiled shot at the Democratic rhetoric on Monday without directly responding to calls to reconvene the Senate.
 
"Only serious, bipartisan, bicameral efforts will enable us to continue this important work and produce further legislation that can pass the Senate, pass the House, and earn the president’s signature," he said.
 
"Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve," he added.