Rand Paul’s promised filibuster of expanded background checks flopped today, as Harry Reid’s bill sailed through the cloture vote 68-31.
Sen. Rand Paul had promised that if Harry Reid brought legislation to the Senate floor that expanded background checks, he and 12 other Republican senators would filibuster it. Majority Leader Harry Reid brought the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 to the floor anyway, and with no filibuster in sight, it passed the cloture vote 68-31.
Most telling is that more Republicans voted for the bill (16) than Paul had in his filibuster coalition (13). Only two red state Democrats voted against moving forward, Sen. Mark Pryor (Arkansas), and Sen. Mark Begich (Alaska). The sixteen Republicans who voted to move the bill forward were Alexander, Ayotte, Burr, Chambliss, Coburn, Collins, Corker, Flake, Graham, Heller, Hoeven, Isakson, Kirk, McCain, Toomey, Wicker.
The two big losers on this vote were the NRA and Rand Paul. In a letter the NRA warned senators that they would be scoring the vote, “We hope the Senate will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools. Should it fail to do so, the NRA will make an exception to our standard policy of not “scoring” procedural votes and strongly oppose a cloture motion to move to final passage of S. 649.”
Sen. Paul’s letter to Harry Reid got the right in a tizzy when he, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee, wrote, “We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.” Paul’s filibuster threat turned out to be more empty positioning for his 2016 presidential campaign.
The NRA’s power is being exposed as vastly overstated. Rand Paul is looking more like a pretender than a player, and the right is running out of ways to stop the successful Senate passage of the first piece of gun control legislation in years.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association