Craven Cowardice: GOP filibusters bipartisan Manchin-Toomey background checks bill

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Sandy Hook2In a supreme act of craven cowardice, Republican senators led a filibuster to prevent even advancing to debate of the Manchin-Toomey background checks amendment, and a simple up or down vote on the merits. The final vote was 54 to 46.

Sen. Harry Reid changed his vote from yes to no to preserve his right to bring a motion for reconsideration.

Sen. John McCain voted to end the filibuster. Sen. Jeff Flake demonstrated his craven cowardice by voting for the filibuster to deny his friend Gabby Giffords a simple up or down vote on the merits.

This is a 55 54-vote majority of senators in favor of this amendment, all that should ever be required to pass legislation in a democracy. The recent GOP abuse of the Senate filibuster rules to obstruct any and all legislation required a 60 vote super-majority to break the GOP filibuster and to move to debate of the amendment.

These whores who are well paid by the lobbyists of the merchants of death should be required to personally meet with and to explain their craven cowardice to each of the families of the victims slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. If you can't stand up to protect the lives of innocent young children from being slaughtered by a madman with far too easy access to firearms, what will you stand up for? (The answer is clearly campaign contributions from the merchants of death).

The Manchin-Toomey background checks amendment is just one of nine proposed amendments to President Obama’s gun control bill — all of
which will need at least 60 votes to be added to the overall
legislation. The Senate will now proceed to these amendments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) chose to require a 60-vote threshold on the final vote for each individual
amendment rather than to end debate on each measure. Instead of drawing
the process out over days or weeks, the votes then can be taken in quick
succession. Sen. Reid asked for the Senate’s unanimous consent to require 60 votes for each of
the nine amendments. Since no senators objected, that’s where the bar
is set. The Fix: Why amendment needs 60 votes to pass.

This is a dark day in American politics, but not as dark as the day to come when the next mass shooting occurs, and it is a certainty that it will occur. As Greg Sargent asked this morning, If gun proposal dies, what happens when there’s another shooting?

Let’s say the Toomey-Manchin compromise on expanded background checks
goes down in the vote that’s scheduled on it today, and whatever package
ultimately passes is essentially a joke. What happens if and when there
are more shootings down the road?

* * *

Here is the situation some of these Senators — red state Democrats and
purple state Republicans alike — may well find themselves in before
long: There may well be another horrific shooting, and they will be on
record voting against common sense proposals to stem gun violence, ones
supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

* * *

If Manchin-Toomey dies, there will be a lot of chatter to the
effect that this was inevitable, that the NRA’s grip on Congress is
invincible, and that it was naïve to imagine that anything could happen,
even after Newtown. This is all just wrong, and indeed, it lets
culpable Senators off the hook. If the proposal goes down, it will be
because a few Senators did the wrong thing.
It was not at all inevitable
that a half dozen Senators who were genuinely undecided voted one way
and not the other. The death of this proposal will be on them.

Whatever the prospects for future gun reform, it is all but certain
that Senators who vote No today will eventually be confronted by another
shooting — whether it’s a particularly gristly murder in their state or
a high profile massacre that gets national attention. And they will be
unable to say they did something to try to slow the carnage when they
had the chance.

UPDATE: Four Democrats voted against the amendment: Mark Pryor of Arkansas;
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota; Mark Begich of Alaska; and Max Baucus of
Montana.

Four Republicans voted for the amendment: Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania; Mark Kirk of
Illinois; Susan Collins of Maine; John McCain of Arizona.

As indicated, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada switched his vote from yes to no for procedural reasons.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey), who has been in poor health and hospitalized recenty, managed to make it to the Senate floor to cast his vote.

UPDATE: NBC News' First Read identifies Patricia Maisch — a survivor of the Tucson shooting that targeted Giffords — as the individual who yelled "Shame on you!" from the Senate gallery after the defeat of the Manchin-Toomey background checks amendment.

After the vote, Maisch said outside the chamber that she screamed when she realized the amendment had been defeated. 

"They
need to be ashamed of themselves," she said. "I think the ones who
voted no … they have no soul. They have no compassion for the
experiences that people have lived through, gun violence, who have had a
child or a loved one murdered."

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