Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Democrats are bullish on bipartisan background check legislation. He told the The Las Vegas Review in an interview released by Huffington Post, “So we are going to pick up some more votes. I may be able to get another Democrat or two. That would get us up to 57. We may only need three additional Republicans.”
According to a Senate source speaking to CNN, the following four Republicans being targeted: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH), Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Sen. Dean Heller (NV).
“Joe Manchin called me yesterday. He thinks he has a couple more votes. The one senator, Republican Senator from New Hampshire [Kelly Ayotte], has been — wham, man has she been hit hard,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said in an interview with The Las Vegas Review Journal this past weekend, via an advance portion released to the The Huffington Post. He continued, “She’s the only senator in the northeast to vote against background checks. She went from a hugely positive number in New Hampshire — her negatives now outweigh her positives. She is being hit every place she goes. So we are going to pick up some more votes. I may be able to get another Democrat or two. That would get us up to 57. We may only need three additional Republicans. So we’ll see.”
Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) co-sponsored the background checks bill that has between 85-90% support from the public according to various polls. At least five senators who voted no on the first vote are facing severe backlash, including Republican senators. They are Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Dean Heller (R-NV). The vote was 54-46, and fell 5 short (6, technically, but Reid’s vote was a procedural vote) of passing.
Dems aren’t naming names, but the Huffington Post reported that a “source close to negotiations” said “that there were two senators who opposed Manchin-Toomey who would flip once minor, superficial changes were made to the bill.”
There were four red state Senate Dems who voted no, Sens. Pryor, Baucus, Begich, and Heitkamp. Four Republicans joined the majority of Democrats in opposing the NRA with Republican Senators Collins, Kirk, McCain, and Toomey voting for the bill. Red state Democrat Mary Landrieu took the risk to vote her conscience in spite of the political risk, voting yes on the bill.
According to a Senate source speaking to CNN , Senator Manchin is targeting four Republicans: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH), Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Sen. Dean Heller (NV). Basically, these flippers require one sentence to be changed in the bill in order to save face for their previous no vote.
Any bill that passes the Senate still has to work its way to even getting put up for a vote in the dysfunctional Republican House of Representatives, where the NRA has a strong hold over the majority party. A February PPP poll showed that support from the NRA could actually toxic to a candidate. But each step is a step closer to forcing House Republicans to be accountable to the public for their failure to serve the public interest.
Reid did not indicate how the next vote would be presented, but it’s also possible that he will provide political cover to Republicans, whom Toomey blamed for the failure to pass the bill, saying that they were too afraid to appear to be “helping” the President.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.