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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 GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report MORE (R-S.C.), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.), and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' 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 ToomeyPhilly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote Toomey on Trump vote: 'His betrayal of the Constitution' required conviction 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 RubioWatch live: Day 2 at CPAC DeSantis derides 'failed Republican establishment' at CPAC The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display 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 PelosiMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 After vote against coronavirus relief package, Golden calls for more bipartisanship in Congress Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' 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.