“What we saw last night in the United States Senate is a shameful display of cowardice,” press secretary Josh Earnest said on CNN.Here is what The Hill and the White House leave out: Democrats Tanked Gun Control To Up Their Election Chances
Senate Republicans agreed to vote on four gun control proposals—two offered by Democrats and two offered by Republicans. The Democratic proposals included Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill linking a terrorism watch list to a gun sales ban. On the Republican side, Sen. John Cornyn also offered legislation that would link a terrorism watch list to a gun sales ban, but his version added due process protections for Americans who are put on the list. The other two proposals expanded the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, although the Republican version did not go as far as the Democratic version. For a brief moment it seemed as if the Senate would take some kind of action.
Then all four gun control proposals were voted down because of the Democrats.
Rather than agree to the incremental gun control measures Republicans proposed, the Democrats chose to pass no gun control legislation at all. At some point after loudly demanding legislation for more than a week, Senate Democrats decided it would be better for their reelection prospects that no gun control bills pass the Senate during the election season. Their decision was hypocritical, unprincipled, and pure politics.
Flashback to 2010 when the issue came up for a vote after Newtown: Harry Reid kills assault weapons ban
Virtually the entire press corps frothed at the mouth when the president, grandstanding at the State of the Union speech, thundered that a list of gun violence victims “deserve” a vote on these sorts of measures. (“Gaby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.”)
Reid doesn’t think so. And in fact no one “deserves” a vote on anything; the Senate leader decided he couldn’t prevail upon his members to cast a vote. Cowardly? Maybe. Or maybe the votes aren’t there and to maximize his chances on other measures he took the assault weapons ban out. That is the nature of the legislative process. But at least we can dispense with the notion that Republicans are standing in the way of assault weapons ban legislation.
Indeed, this is further evidence that getting the Senate to actually cast votes is very helpful to the GOP. It clarifies where Dems really stand (e.g. high taxes, more spending) and alerts the Democratic base that a lot of what Reid and Schumer say is for show.