McConnell rejects calls to bring Senate back early for gun debate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSocial media never intended to be in the news business — but just wait till AI takes over Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Two-thirds of Americans support assault weapons ban: Fox News poll MORE (R-Ky.) indicated Thursday that he will not bring the Senate back early from its five-week August recess to debate gun legislation, despite pressure from Democrats.
 
"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.
 
 
"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 TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies 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. 
 
 
"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."