Washington (CNN) – After a mass shooting in California on Friday, House Democrats plan to press for action on gun control measures this week.
The no. 2 House Democrat told reporters that he and other Democrats are discussing whether to push for an amendment to a spending bill that would beef up background checks for those purchasing guns.
"It is possible," Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said Wednesday. But, he admitted, Democrats are not sure the background check language will be allowed on a spending bill the House is considering.
The House will begin debate on Wednesday on a bill that funds several federal agencies for the next fiscal year, including the Justice Department. The measure currently includes a provision that bans the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from requiring gun sellers to report multiple sales of specific types of assault weapons. Hoyer said Democrats will attempt to strike that measure.
But Hoyer, who said he hoped Congress could do something, conceded these new efforts on the spending bill aren't likely to go far.
"I continue not to have high expectations because of past performance," Hoyer said.
The Maryland Democrat also said that the background check measure Democrats have pushed unsuccessfully before "may not have made a difference" in the case of the Friday’s California shooting.
Citing public opinion polls, Hoyer maintained that a majority of Americans back tougher background check measures, but if voters want to see them enacted into law they need to elect more Democrats to Congress.