Toomey says he hopes half of Senate Republicans will vote for potential gun deal
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), one of the lawmakers involved in the ongoing bipartisan gun negotiations, said the group has to “be realistic,” but he hopes at least half of his Republican colleagues in the Senate will vote for a potential deal if one ever arises.
Speaking with moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Toomey said he supports legislation he has sponsored that would expand background checks and encourage states to implement red-flag laws, which allow people to petition a court to temporarily confiscate firearms from owners considered risks to themselves or others.
Toomey is one of a handful of Senate Republicans involved in the bipartisan talks that began following a string of recent high-profile mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.
The group — which has met at least four times in recent days — has at times included Toomey and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
When asked by Brennan if the group would be able to find a handful of Republicans to overcome the legislative filibuster — a 60-vote threshold required for most legislation — Toomey expressed optimism that a number of his Republican colleagues would support the potential deal.
“My hope is we’ll get a lot more than that,” Toomey said.
“My hope is we’ll get at least half the Republican conference,” he added. “That should be the goal here. We’re going to have to be realistic about what can do that.”
Toomey said the group is in part focused on expanding background checks, adding that the eventual proposal would “probably” look different than the background check expansion bill he has sponsored with Manchin in 2013, which ultimately failed. He described the group’s proposals as a “moving target” that has also centered on funding for mental health and school safety in addition to incentivizing red-flag laws at the state level.
“It hasn’t been finally resolved,” Toomey said. “But something in the space of expanding background checks, I think it certainly is on the table, and I hope it will be part of a final package.”