McConnell taps GOP senators to mull bipartisan legislation after shootings

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell in talks with Mnuchin on next phase of coronavirus relief Pelosi: 'We shouldn't even be thinking' about reopening schools without federal aid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K MORE (R-Ky.) said on Monday that he has asked three GOP committee chairmen to brainstorm potential solutions after President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE urged bipartisanship in the wake of the weekend's two mass shootings. 
 
McConnell, in a statement, said he discussed Trump's speech on Monday with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats see immigration reform as topping Biden agenda Graham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probe MORE (R-S.C.), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderConservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report Sixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention MORE (R-Tenn.), and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Bottom line GOP rallies around Trump after firing of Manhattan US attorney 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 ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA 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 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 RubioChina sanctions Cruz, Rubio, others over Xinjiang legislation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K GOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' 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 Pelosi70 progressive groups call for next Foreign Affairs chair to reflect 'progressive realism' House to vote next week on ridding Capitol of Confederate statues Eye on gavel, Wasserman Schultz proposes panel on racial inequality in spending 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.