Republicans divided on filibuster front
April 9th, 2013
02:06 PM ET
5 years ago

Republicans divided on filibuster front

(CNN) - The Republican Party appears split over whether to block gun legislation in the Senate.

While more than a dozen GOP senators have stated they plan to block the proposed bill from proceeding, a number of Republicans are saying the public deserves to hear debate over the legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has also vowed to oppose the bill as it now stands.

Both senators from Georgia, Sen. Johnny Isakson and Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Tuesday they won't join those in their party who may stall the bill.

"I don't think I'm going to support that," Chambliss told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "I just don't think it's the right thing to do."

"I think it deserves a vote up or down," Isakson said on CBS.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said a vote on whether to open debate on the bill come Thursday. Reid needs 60 votes to begin consideration and prevent a filibuster.

There are 55 Democrats in the Senate (including two independents who caucus with the party) and 45 Republicans, meaning if all Senate Democrats vote to proceed, Reid will need at least five Republicans to do so, as well.

Though he's not in the Senate, Rep. Peter King of New York took a similar stance, saying Tuesday the upper chamber should allow a vote to go through.

"The American people are entitled to a debate. And to me, to use Senate rules to block a debate on an issue of this importance is just wrong," King said on CNN's "Starting Point."

At issue is a bill that includes calling for a universal background check system.

However, CNN reported that recent talks in the Senate indicate the system may be expanded to include purchases at gun shows and online, but would not be universal in covering private sales between individuals, as backed by President Barack Obama and many Democrats.

A trio of first-term GOP senators - Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas - stated in a letter last month that they will block any gun control legislation that they consider a threat to Second Amendment rights.

Several other Republican senators joined in, and in an expanded letter sent Monday to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, they wrote they would oppose a bill that "would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance."

Sen. John McCain questioned why some in his party were trying to stand in the way of a vote. "I don't understand it," he said Sunday on CBS. "What are we afraid of?"

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani agreed with McCain, saying Monday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live" there's no point for Republicans to try to obstruct the bill, when it's almost certain the bill will fail in the GOP-controlled House.

"(The Senate) should vote up or down on this," he said. "I don't understand why the Republican Party is creating this problem for themselves about filibustering. If they want to block this legislation, they have a House of Representatives in which to do it. I don't know why they're creating this sort of additional political issue that isn't required."

Recent polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans favor making a change to the background check system – a fact President Barack Obama raised Monday in his speech near Newtown, Connecticut.

"If our democracy's working the way it's supposed to, and 90% agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy, you would think this would not be a heavy lift," Obama said, saying the Republicans who were vowing the filibuster the bill were, in essence, telling Americans that their "opinion doesn't matter."

This week, CNN TV and will take an in-depth look at “Guns Under Fire: A CNN Special Report On Background Checks.” On Tuesday night at 8 p.m., AC360 will debut an exclusive interview with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head two years ago in Arizona. On Wednesday, the network will look at gun control and background checks as Congress is expected to tackle the issue head-on in the coming days. Watch CNN TV and follow online at or via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • Johnny Isakson • Peter King • Rudy Giuliani • Saxby Chambliss • Senate
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Bill

    A party without portfolio. They can not even agree to disagree with something supported by 90% of the American public. Oh, you silly, out-of-touch GOP clowns, have you not learned anything over the last three elections?

    April 9, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    ""I don't understand it," he said Sunday on CBS. "What are we afraid of?""

    I know right? You're perfectly positioned with your GOP majority in the House, earned with a minority of the votes for House candidates, to block it all and ignore the overwhelming demands of the majority of Amurikans. Why block democracy when you can thwart it?

    April 9, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Warren

    That's their M.O. Lets have a filibuster. Look at what Paul got out of it, headlines for a couple of days....Shame they won't do what the people want....

    April 9, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- TAKE BACK THE HOUSE

    They're cowards and don't want to be a held accountable for their votes. If they're willing to go against 90% of the people, then that's on them. They'll pay for their obstruction on election night.

    April 9, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Yes–it is silly and stupid in this nation–this needs Filibuster Reform. It is nothing but threat to laws.

    April 9, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. PJ

    "If they want to block this legislation they have the House of Representatives in which to do it".
    Thanks Rudy, I'm sure the families will appreciate that thought. You, of all people Mr. 9-11, could, at the very least,
    show some compassion.

    April 9, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. WiredWeirdinSF

    Please notice that the corrupt administration and the democrat liberal toads in Congress is only attacking the legal right to arms, not any of the problems that cause gun violence. Obama's drugged up, welfare fraud supporters will still have their weapons and we will not be able to defend ourselves. Just look at Chicago, where the nations toughest gun control laws exist. Say isn't that where Obozo is from? So he is used to pulling the wool over their eyes.

    April 9, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. rs

    The GOP needs to figure this out because it is a sort of watershed moment.

    With 90% of Americans saying they want a background check bill, the GOP needs to have a really good reason to even be just against background checks, so it is pretty over-the-top to just block the vote on the bill from even happening. I mean if the GOP wants to stand in the blood with the loons from the NRA that is their business, it can be part of their platform. No one said that the GOP can't debate the bill, or they cannot vote no on it, but to tell the 90% "we don't care", we're going to protect the 4% who support unfettered access to firearms, well, you get the point.

    And they wonder why their popularity plummets and they continue to lose elections. The "party of stupid" rides on.

    April 9, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- TAKE BACK THE HOUSE

    Sen. McCain asked of his republican colleagues "what they afraid of?" Good question. Are they afraid of being primaried or having negative NRA ads run against them?

    April 9, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Slowburn

    Please filibuster all you want. Your party has alienated most of the people with a brain, you need to alienate those who are as empty headed as yourselves.

    April 9, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Wake up People!

    I have to laugh at the people that say blacks are lazy, that we don't want to work, that we want everything given to us..... I don't know about anyone else but that description fits the GOP to a T. They rarely work, when they are working it's on crap like abortion and making sure the average person doesn't have medical care. They are career politicians that do nothing but milk the system. Most of them are so old and out of touch that it's not even funny, yet they keep getting elected. And paid for doing nothing, unless obstructing counts.

    Please follow Pope Santorums advice and continue the way you are....

    April 9, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    It's the baggers (the US. Taliban) that's blocking all the good stuff and trying to pass all the bad stuff.

    Kick as many out as possible in 2014. Especially in the House.

    April 9, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Walter Adams

    An A+ NRA rating is much more important than making our country safer. Only in America would the solution to too many guns be to add even more guns. But I guess since the NRA is bankrolling our representatives, they know better than to oppose such insanity.

    April 9, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. liberty rising

    Why is it so important to allow a vote on this bill, but Reid will NOT allow a vote on the bill to audit the fed? The audit the fed bill is MUCH more important then this gun control bill which will do nothing to stop shootings anyway!

    April 9, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. aCriticalEye

    GOP = Greed Over People

    The party of NO, Has got to GO!

    April 9, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. 2012liberal

    See gulianii even admits that the house is the problem this country keeps facing down turn over and over again. Do nothing house! Oppose at all cost. God bless our country and president!

    April 9, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. AMERICAN33

    Yes, let the vote happen, nothing wrong with debating the issue. Yes, determine laws that will help to keep guns out of the hands of felons, other criminal sorts, and the metally ill. Let a bill pass that goes against the 2nd Amendment NO, are you people really that dependent on the system. Why don't you give up all the rest of your rights, give them all the money you earn, let them tell you what to eat, how to raise your children, what's right, what's wrong.

    April 9, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. AMERICAN33

    Have people forgetten, what this country was built on?

    April 9, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. CB FL

    These senators don't have the stones to stand up to the NRA. But come election time I hope everyone in their district knows that they have a coward in Washington.

    April 9, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Bob

    Another thorough and detailed debate like for Obamacare where the bill hadn't even been read by the legislators? No thanks.

    April 9, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. AMERICAN33

    Talk about how it is the GOP's fault. when the house, sen, hand president were D, so much more good things got done. REALLY? It's not their faults, it's the peoples fault, we placed them there. And I would love to see, fact sheet where 90% of America's show support.

    April 9, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Joi Gibson

    We deserve a vote in the very least. And these obstructionist senators are making a mockery of the Senate. Shame on them!!!!

    April 9, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. 1twinsfan

    Thanks, GOP, for putting Bubba and Earl's right to own whatever guns they want over the Newtown children and children every where their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    April 9, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. kayla

    now you see why america is in the mess we're in. stupid peolpe running the government

    April 9, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Busy

    Keep up the work GOP!!!!!

    April 9, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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