Senator Says Dems ‘Have the Votes’ for New Gun Laws, It’s Just The Number of Votes Needed is More Than They Have
Senator Chris Murphy sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday to talk about gun control, and said that Democrats would have the votes for passing legislation if it weren’t for the fact that they don’t.
In light of the horrific school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, Tapper spoke to Murphy about what Democrats are doing with regard to gun legislation, something on which the party frequently fundraises and campaigns.
“We have a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, a pro-gun control president, Democrat,” said Tapper, setting the stage for the however. “No new gun regulations have passed, why not?”
Murphy began his answer by saying that the American people only pay attention to the issues involved when there are shootings, even though “100 people every day are dying from gunshot wounds.”
“The fact of the matter is, we have the votes in the House and the Senate for a universal background checks bill. We have a president who will sign it,” said Murphy, emphatically stating that his party does have the number of votes needed.
“It’s the rules of the Senate that prevent us from passing it,” he continued, meaning that they do not have enough votes to pass the legislation.
The number of votes that it takes to pass legislation is a figure determined by the rules. Under the rules, they do not have enough votes.
“We probably have 52, 53, 54 votes in the Senate for this,” he said, listing numbers that are fewer than needed to overcome a filibuster, which is part of the rules. “So the rules right now are what prevent us from being able to enact the will of the public.”
“If we don’t change the rules of the Senate, then we’re ultimately going to need 60 votes,” he explained further, stating the number of votes currently needed, which they do not have. “And so we need to continue to build up our political power around the country.”
Tapper then asked Murphy whether trying to do too much instead of working on individual issues could be a reason that the Democrats do not have enough votes to pass the legislation that they have enough votes for, and brought up Senators Pat Toomey, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Machin as examples of people who would be willing to compromise on some individual pieces.
“Republican Senator Pat Toomey from the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – you’ve worked with him on this issue. He told me a few months ago, you’ll remember, of course, when he and Manchin, both NRA guys, put together a bill to close the so-called gun show loophole. He said that he thinks that that could potentially get 60 votes in the Senate, but there’s been no progress on it because people who want gun reform in the Senate want big, sweeping gun reform and won’t be happy with even just an incremental step, like closing the gun show loophole. Wouldn’t that – I mean, isn’t something better than nothing?” Tapper asked.
“Listen, I won’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, right? I want universal background checks. I want a ban on assault weapons,” Murphy answered, “but I will settle for something much less because that will save lives.”
“So I’ve been in negotiations all year with Senator Toomey, with Senator Cornyn, with Lindsey Graham trying to find a compromise that can get 60 votes in the Senate,” he said, referring the number of votes that one needs to say they “have the votes.”
Murphy said that perhaps in the wake of the shooting it is time to go back to the table, adding that he’s asked Leader Chuck Schumer for “The room to try to negotiate that compromise you’re talking about.”
That is almost an implication on Murphy’s part that Democrats do let the perfect get in the way of the good and that he needs Schumer to stop that happening if they are to get the actual number of votes needed to pass something.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
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