McConnell rejects calls to bring Senate back early for gun debate

 
"We're going to have these bipartisan discussions and when we get back hopefully be able to come together and actually pass something. I want to make a law," McConnell said during an interview with Kentucky radio station WHAS.
 
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Pressed if he was saying he would not call the Senate back before their currently scheduled Sept. 9 return date, McConnell added: "If we did that, we would just have people scoring points and nothing would happen. There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on."
 
"If we do it prematurely it will just be another frustrating experience. ... I think this is the best way to get a result," he added.
 
The interview marks the first time McConnell has publicly weighed in on the growing calls from Democrats and activists for him to quickly bring the Senate back into session to debate gun legislation following mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend that left more than 30 people dead and dozens more injured.
 
Senators left town last week for the August break.
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' Mattis responds to Trump criticism: 'I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals' Democrats vow to push for repeal of other Trump rules after loss on power plant rollback MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found MORE (D-Calif.) have homed in on McConnell as they try to pressure him and Republicans to bring the chamber back into session as soon as this week to vote on House-passed legislation.
 
"Today, as Speaker of the House, I am writing in good faith to request that you call the United States Senate back into session immediately under your powers in Article II Section 3 of the Constitution to consider House-passed bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation," Pelosi wrote in a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE on Thursday.
 
The House passed universal background check legislation earlier this year with the support of eight Republicans. The Senate's companion bill has 42 sponsors, none are Republicans.
 
Instead, McConnell said senators will use the August break to have discussions among themselves and at the staff level about what potential bills could get the 60 votes needed to ultimately pass the upper chamber.
 
McConnell noted that he spoke with Trump on Thursday morning, characterizing them as both "anxious" to get an "outcome." 
 
"We talked about … the need to use these three weeks when members are at home to get started at least at the staff level in discussing what we might be actually be able to agree on," he said. 
 
McConnell pointed to two areas of potential compromise: So-called red flag gun legislation and a bipartisan bill to expand background checks being pushed by Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Senate Dems lose forced vote against EPA power plant rule Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE (D-W.Va.) and 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.).
 
"The discussion is focusing on two things: One is these red-flag warnings. … There's also been some discussion about background checks," McConnell said. "There's a lot of support for that … so those are two items that for sure will be front and center as we see what we can come together on and pass."