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Posted at 3:53 p.m. on June 4, 2013
With immigration, budget issues and administration controversies sucking up all the Captiol’s oxygen, the once-charged debate over gun control has fallen largely by the wayside. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he plans to meet this week with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-WVa., to determine whether there’s possible legislative action.
Manchin was one of four co-sponsors of a background check bill that failed to garner a filibuster-proof 60 votes in April, despite bipartisan backing and intense lobbying from key figures including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I spoke to the vice president yesterday about this. He and I are going to get together in the next week. I’ve spoken to Sen. Manchin today. We’re going to get together this week and talk about this,” Reid told reporters Tuesday after the Democrats’ weekly luncheon.
“I’m not going to bring up a vote just to have a vote,” Reid continued. “I want to bring up this vote again if we can accomplish something that seems pretty commonsense to me. If you have severe mental problems, or you are a criminal, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.”
Manchin’s office could not immediately confirm the meeting.
It’s unclear when would be the best time for the Senate to reconsider gun control legislation. Reid has said he will not move forward on any bill that might be deemed controversial before the immigration overhaul passes. And perhaps the majority leader’s decision to speak with Manchin and Biden stems from a need to quell Democratic frustration about the gun issue as lawmakers haggle on the details of the immigration bill.
As Reid announced his plans to discuss gun control this week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he is “seriously considering” offering gun control amendments to the pending immigration bill. Blumenthal, who has become more vocal on the issue in the months since a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, pulled back on his push for the measures when the Senate Judiciary Committee was marking up the legislation.
“There are some common-sense, gun violence control measures that apply very logically and reasonably to the immigration bill,” Blumenthal said, according to a Bloomberg report being circulated by his office. “I am very seriously considering offering them on the floor.”
As #WGDB reported Monday, there is apprehension from leaders and those working on the immigration overhaul that politically divisive amendments could disrupt the delicate coalition backing the measure and sink the bill.