Republicans divided on filibuster front
April 9th, 2013
02:06 PM ET
2 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 CNN.com 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 CNN.com 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. rs

    The GOP stands for "freedom" of gun owners and buyers (to do what the NRA tells them) over the rights of children to grow up.

    That's the "party of life" for you.

    April 9, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "the GOP needs to have a really good reason to even be just against background checks"

    No they don't. They simply need to feed their base what they tell their base is a "really good reason." For example...*ahem*..."OMG OMG OMG BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE JSUT HE PRECURSOR TO CONFISCATION AND THE UN'S NEW WORLD ORDER HELICOPTERS ARE JUST WAITING FOR THIS TO HAPPEN!!!!!!"

    April 9, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. AMERICAN33

    And you think that if you take away that right that will stop horrible things from happening. The shooting in Newtown, was a horrible act, and my heart goes out to the families and children that were involved, and affected. What about the rights of my children to LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.To be raised in the values, and beliefs that this country was built on?

    April 9, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Rita Winton

    We as American have the right to debate and not accept status quo. I am not breaking any laws and most Americans are law abiding citizens. Let's try to debate how to get those weapons out of idiots and crazy people. These people are going to kill whether they have guns or knives it just been proven. The only way is a deterant known is armed security in our schools. This could be provided by President Obama and the vice president could finally shut up sit down and stop his tongue wagging. This would work out all over. The White House could provide jobs, protect its citizens and pay their wages at least something worth spending their money on. Hey VP Hotel 8 wll still leave the light on for you.

    April 9, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. AMERICAN33

    You talk about the rights of other's , yet have no problem stepping on those rights?

    April 9, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Eli Cabelly

    Regulation of guns that is similar to current regulation of cars will not inhibit anyone's ability to own a gun.

    April 9, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. AMERICAN33

    Are my right's, my families right's or my childrens right's any less important?

    April 9, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. t

    Republicans are evil SOBs!

    April 9, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. ghostriter

    Rita, can you show us how many people were killed by a lone guy with a knife? Can you also tell us why your plan for security guards didn't help in Columbine?

    American33, can you show us where in any suggestions that have been presented that your rights are being stepped upon? Warning.....no hyperbole, no slippery slope nonsense, no "infringed upon" talk. Just how anything suggested actually erodes your right to bear arms.

    April 9, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. AMERICAN33

    True, as long as the Government does not use that information to keep tract of what guns I own as a law abiding citizen. I agree with you Rita.

    April 9, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. rs

    obama is to scold on newtown...he does nothing to secure the schools..no quards, no one entrance only with quard, metal detector...newtown could happen tommorrow...thank you obama and miden for solving the school shooting problem...this should have been done after the colorado shootings.

    April 9, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    Is it just me or does it seem like the religious party of family values, have the nastiest, name calling people amongst them?

    Once again, hypocrisy.

    April 9, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. AMERICAN33

    Ghostriter, to date nothing has been suggested that would erode on my right to bear arms. But equally said nothing that has been suggested has been proven to stop gun violence. And also on you comment to Rita, How many people have been killed by people in cars? Do you believe that the goverment should be able to tell me, what types of guys I can own?

    April 9, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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