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McConnell: White House preparing gun-violence proposal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism 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 TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds 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.

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“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 ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (R-Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats torn on impeachment trial timing Biden faces tall order in uniting polarized nation McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag 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 SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader US Chamber of Commerce to Biden, Congress: Business community 'ready to help' Why pretend senators can 'do impartial justice'? MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer placed on administrative leave: reports Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden taps career civil servants to acting posts at State, USAID, UN 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.