Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he will file for cloture this evening on gun control legislation. The cloture motion allows the Senate to move to consider the legislation under normal debate. The measure needs 60 votes to pass and proceed to debate on the bill. Reid is likely to win this vote.
This week, Sens. Manchin (D-WV) and Toomey (R-PA) have been working on compromise language to expand background checks on gun sales. Any agreement between them is likely to fall far short of the “universal” background checks at the heart of Obama’s gun proposals. Still, the negotiations have been difficult. Reid has imposed a 5pm Tuesday deadline on their talks.
Sens. Cruz, Lee, Paul, McConnell and a dozen other GOP Senators have stated they will oppose moving towards debate on gun control legislation. They need 41 votes to maintain the filibuster, but Tuesday several GOP Senators said they would vote to move to debate. Sens. Isackson and Ayotte indicated Tuesday they would vote for cloture. Over the weekend, Sen. McCain criticized the effort to filibuster the legislation.
Unless Democrats join the filibuster, the defection of just two more GOP Senators would give Reid cloture and allow the Senate to take up the legislation. If Reid wins the cloture vote, votes on amendments to the gun control legislation would likely begin Thursday.
There is almost no chance that anything substantive will pass the Senate.