McConnell: White House preparing gun-violence proposal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that the White House is preparing a proposal to respond to the “horrendous” shootings last month and that he will withhold judgment on how to proceed until he sees President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE’s plan.

“We had a briefing at lunch from Eric Ueland from down at the White House. They are working on coming up with a proposal that the president will sign. Until that happens, all of this is theatrics,” McConnell said after the Senate GOP lunch, which White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland attended.

ADVERTISEMENT

“These horrendous shootings, in my opinion, deserve a response. I hope we can get something that can actually become the law of the United States of America,” McConnell later added.

Some Republicans say there is now more GOP support for expanding background checks along the lines of the proposal sponsored in 2013 by Sens. 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.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Senate Democrats to hold the floor to protest inaction on gun violence MORE (D-W.Va.), which would have required background checks for all firearms sales on the internet and at gun shows.

McConnell, however, was careful not to get out ahead of Trump.

Asked if there is more support for background checks, McConnell said, “I can’t handicap the outcome.”

“We’re waiting for something we know if it passed would actually become law and until the White House gives us some indication of what the president is willing to sign, we’re waiting to see what it looks like,” he said.

Asked whether he personally thought it reasonable to mandate background checks for all commercial gun sales, McConnell replied, “I’m going to wait and assess the proposal that actually could become law.”

“At that point I’ll be happy to explain my vote one way or the other,” he said.

McConnell said Republicans “are engaged here with a level of seriousness that I see as completely nonexistent on the other side,” referring to Democrats.

McConnell hit Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) and 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.) for calling on Republicans Monday to take up a House-passed gun control measure.

The GOP leader dismissed their call as a political “stunt” because Trump has already said he will veto it.  

“For months, what I have said consistently is let’s see if we can actually make a law here. And making a law when you have divided government is challenging,” he said. “My members know the very simple fact that to make a law you have to have a presidential signature."

Updated: 4:28 p.m.