Senate Deals Setback to Gun Bill in Vote on Background Checks

Senate Deals Setback to Gun Bill in Vote on Background Checks

Gun Amendment Votes on Capitol Hill
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chat about about gun control legislation in the Capitol in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA / April 17, 2013)

WASHINGTON – An amendment to expand background check requirements to include most commercial sales failed Wednesday in the Senate, a significant setback to gun legislation developed in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.

The measure, negotiated by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), fell short of the 60 votes that it needed to be adopted under an agreement between the Senate’s leaders.

[Updated, 2:04 p.m. April 17: The final vote was, 54-46, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote to no, a procedural move that allows him to bring the measure up for another vote.

Four Republicans – Toomey, Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Steven Kirk (Ill.) and John McCain – voted for the background check expansion, while Reid and four Democrats – Max Baucus (Mt.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) – voted against it. The four Democrats besides Reid are all from red states. Baucus, Begich and Pryor are up for reelection next year in their states.]

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