Bipartisan negotiations over mental illness and school safety after mass shooting
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Says Republicans are working across the aisle to try to come up with a compromise bill to address the UvaldeTexas, school shooting with a focus on mental illness and school safety.
The Uvalde shooting killed 19 children as well as two teachers and prompted lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to try to act.
However, while Democrats have demanded tougher gun control laws, Republicans have pushed for legislation that increases school safety while protecting the Second Amendment.
Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said the senses. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are struggling to find a compromise between the two positions.
“We have a group led by Senator Cornyn and Senator Murphy on the Democratic side who are discussing how we could come together to target the problem, mental illness and school safety,” McConnell said. “We will come back to it next week and hope to have a result.”
In a post on Twitter, Murphy insisted that “failure cannot be an option”.
“Between shows, I was on the phone today [with] Republican and Democratic senators trying to find the common denominator on a gun violence bill,” Murphy wrote. “[Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)] gave us a little over a week to find a compromise. This time, failure cannot be an option.
Speaking to ABC News about the ongoing negotiations, Murphy said the legislation could go beyond minor reforms that many Republicans want, including possibly expanding the federal gun background check system, red flag laws and gun storage laws.
“We are talking about the red flag laws. We are talking about strengthening and expanding the system of background checks, if not universal background checks. We are talking about secure storage. And yes, we’re also talking about mental health resources and more dollars for school safety,” Murphy said, saying their bill “could have significant downward pressure” on shootings.
“Perhaps the most important thing we can do is just show that progress is possible and that the sky is not falling for Republicans if they support some of these common sense measures,” he said. he declares.
In a post Referring to the 2019 Virginia Beach shootings, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) — who mounted an unsuccessful bid as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016 — also projected a sense of urgency.
“My heart is with their loved ones today,” Kaine wrote. “If we can do something to prevent the grief felt by their families, we must. If we do not demonstrate, by more than words, that we are touched by these tragedies, we are committing the sin of indifference.
McConnell first announced effort to reach across the aisle on May 26, when he said, “I encouraged [Cornyn] talk to the senator [Kyrsten] Sinema, Senator Murphy and others who are interested in trying to get an outcome directly related to the issue.
He added that he “hopes we can find a bipartisan solution directly related to the facts of this horrific massacre.”
McConnell was keen to emphasize that he was not pushing for legislation that would advance a partisan Democratic agenda, only to find a legislative solution directly related to the circumstances of the Uvalde shooting.
“What I’ve asked Senator Cornyn to do is meet with Democrats who want a bipartisan solution and come up with a proposal, if possible, designed to address that particular issue,” he said.
McConnell’s tepid support for a compromise package could be a welcome sign for Democrats, who will need the backing of at least 10 Republicans to overcome the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold.
Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) also suggested a willingness to work across the aisle on a legislative response.
“I look forward to coming back after the break, to see if we can find a way forward for sensible gun reforms,” Graham said, ahead of a scheduled recess for the Senate.
Sen. Mike Rounds (RS.D.) also suggested a bipartisan deal could be struck.
“Part of what some of us are still looking at, I think, is this: Is there a way to identify these people who have this propensity?” Rounds told reporters. Is there a way to provide local law enforcement tools for use Are there enough resources available in schools to be able to provide additional protection?
“Are these things we could agree on?” Could we find consensus on these things? And I think that’s part of the discussion that could very well ensue in the future.
He suggested that such a bill might not include new gun regulations at all, but might instead focus on providing localities with additional funding for law enforcement.
“What are you proactively doing then, so that you can get, you know, 75, 80 votes on the Senate floor?” The round ones thought. “Maybe it’s the funding — it’s one thing we’ve been able to do. That is to promote direct funding to local units, to be able to have the resources to add additional protections to provide deterrence to these people with, you know, with bad intentions or with a serious mental health problem .
On May 30, President Joe Biden admitted that any agreement on new gun laws following several mass shootings revolves around “rational Republicans” and that he is limited in terms of what he can do by decree.
Biden, who spoke to reporters outside the White House in Washington after traveling from his home in Delaware, said he believed the situation had gotten so bad that “everyone is becoming more rational about it” or becomes more likely to support restrictions on gun ownership. .
When asked if he had a responsibility to act as president, he replied, “I can’t dictate that stuff. I can do the things that I have done and any executive action that I can take I will continue to take. But I can’t ban a weapon. I can’t edit a background check. I can not do that.
In the House, Democrats are also considering advancing gun legislation.
In a May 31 Twitter postHouse Judiciary Committee Democrats have said they will meet for an emergency markup hearing on June 2 to consider the “Protecting Our Children Act.”
This bill “would increase the age limit for the purchase of certain firearms, prevent the trafficking of firearms, modernize the ban on untraceable firearms, [and] encourage the safe storage of firearms” among other measures (pdf).
However, such a sweeping bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, where Democrats must have the support of at least 10 Republicans to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold.
Despite their lukewarm desire to reach a deal, Republicans are unlikely to accept legislation that makes so many changes to federal gun law.
Ultimately, any changes Democrats want to make to gun laws will require the support of a supermajority in the Senate, and their options will likely be severely limited due to the filibuster.
Jack Phillips and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.