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The House’s GOP leaders oppose a two-part arms deal as the Senate moves toward passage

Written by Javed Iqbal

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana announced during a closed conference meeting Wednesday that they are both a “no” to the Senate bipartisan arms deal, according to a source in the room.

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik from New York said in a statement she also plans to vote against the bill, meaning the top 3 members of the House Republican leadership are all united in opposing the legislation.

The House’s GOP leaders are also formally planning to crack down on the Senate’s two-piece gun law, according to Republican sources. A formal whip announcement is expected to come out on Wednesday.

But even with House GOP leaders opposing the bill, there are already some Republican members who have indicated they plan to vote for it, and the Democratic-controlled House is expected to be able to pass the legislation once it is passed. in the Senate.

The Senate seems to be on the way to passing the measure already this week. If passed, it would be equivalent to the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994 – although it does not ban any weapons and is far below what Democrats and polls show they most Americans want to see.
Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he intends to vote yes to the two-part gun bill, saying, “As a congressman, it is my duty to pass laws that never violate the Constitution, while protecting the lives of the innocent.”

Gonzales represents Uvalde, Texas, where a recent mass shooting at an elementary school shocked the nation and led to public outcry.

“In the coming days, I look forward to voting YES to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” Gonzales said.

GOP Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan also told CNN he is a “yes” to the bill.

GOP Senate negotiator looks set to grow Republican support

The Senate voted to advance the bill Tuesday night, an important step toward final passage. And the House looks set to pass legislation soon after 14 GOP senators voted with Democrats in Tuesday’s procedural vote – more than the 10 required to join Democrats to overcome a filibuster on the bill. A vote to defeat a filibuster is expected to take place on Thursday.

In a slide presentation presented by Senate John Cornyn to Senate Republicans for lunch on Wednesday, which was provided to CNN by a GOP source, the Texas Republican walked through areas where the National Rifle Association felt like it – even though the pro-gun lobby is against the agreement.

Among the issues Cornyn noted: securing the fix to close “girlfriend loophole“does not apply retroactively to former abusers in the home and applies only to recent circumstances. He also noted the rules of fair trial for states that implement red flag laws, and a 10-year sunset clause to ensure that all enhanced background checks to allow search in juvenile records will be “repealed” in a decade. He also promoted $ 300 million in “hardening schools” and $ 12 billion in mental health funding when the NRA wins.

The effort was part of a sales job to increase GOP support beyond the 14 Republicans who voted for open debate, but a majority of Senate Republicans are still expected to oppose the bill.

Yet the legislation marks the first major federal arms security measure in a generation, a significant achievement in a highly polarized political environment where gun policy is among the most controversial issues.

The bill includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check system.

It also makes significant changes in the process when someone aged 18 to 21 goes to buy a firearm and closes the so-called girlfriend loopholea great victory for the Democrats, who had fought for a decade for it.

Contrary to the decision of the 3 top Republican leaders in the House to oppose the bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he plans to support it.

McConnell on Wednesday praised the two-part gun violence law as a “package of common sense and popular solutions to make these horrific incidents less likely,” which will not “touch the rights of the overwhelming majority of U.S. gun owners who are law-abiding citizens of common sense.”

He said previous attempts to pass legislation to curb mass shootings in schools and elsewhere stalled because Democrats tried to “roll back” people’s rights to the Second Amendment.

“This time is different. This time, the Democrats came our way and agreed to promote some common sense solutions without rolling back the rights of law-abiding citizens. The result is a product I am proud to support,” McConnell said in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reiterated on Wednesday that he intends to “secure the final passage” of the two-part gun security legislation before the end of the week.

“It is my intention now to keep the process going quickly and ensure the final passage before the end of the week,” Schumer said in the speech.

He pointed to the 64 senators who supported the bill’s advance Tuesday night as “an unmistakable sign of the broad support and momentum behind this bill.

This story has been updated with further development on Wednesday.

CNN’s Manu Raju, Sarah Fortinsky, Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

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Javed Iqbal

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