GOP senator says gun framework without text is ‘dangerous way to legislate’
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Sunday criticized the recent bipartisan framework on gun-related legislation principles, calling for additional “transparency” as lawmakers attempt to find agreement on legislative text.
“There still is no deal, and yet we continue to be asked by colleagues, by constituents, by reporters, ‘Are you supporting the bill?'” Lee said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“This is a very dangerous way to legislate,” he told guest host Shannon Bream. “Behind closed doors — you need the transparency of a public conversation with bill text in front of you.”
“I personally refuse to indicate whether I or how I will vote on a bill until after I’ve seen the text because there are a lot of things that can go wrong,” Lee added.
His comments come after a group of 20 senators — 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans — announced last Sunday they had reached agreement on a set of nine principles, including strengthening criminal background check requirements for gun buyers younger than 21 and investing billions of dollars in children and family mental health services.
The support of the 10 Republican senators indicates the bill has a good chance of passing the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a legislative filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) further boosted the legislation’s political support on Tuesday by indicating he would likely support the bill.
As lawmakers look to iron out the legislative text, negotiators say they are stuck on provisions that would send money to states to set up red flag laws or other intervention procedures for taking guns away from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others and another that would close the so-called boyfriend loophole.
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), who has helped lead the Republican side of the negotiations, told reporters on Thursday that negotiators hadn’t reached agreement on the final draft of the bill as lawmakers headed home for the weekend.
Lee told Bream on Sunday that he has been in touch with Cornyn but has not had “any of my questions” about the bill’s details answered.
“Without that language, you can’t ascertain whether it’s OK,” Lee said. “But, Shannon, the important thing here is we’ve got to be careful whenever something like this happens that we not legislate under the heat of the moment, under great emotion, without looking at the text.”
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