Showdown gun control vote set Thursday in Senate

  • Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. speak to reporters as they walk from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's, D-Nev., office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, after a meeting on gun control. Reid's determination to stage a vote came despite continued inconclusive talks between Manchin, Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., aimed at finding compromise on expanding background checks to more gun purchasers. But Manchin left a meeting in Reidís office late Tuesday and said he hoped a deal could be completed on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — The Senate’s top Democrat has set Congress’ first showdown vote for Thursday on President Barack Obama’s gun control drive as a small but mounting number of Republicans appear willing to buck a conservative effort to prevent debate from even beginning.

Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced his decision Tuesday as the White House, congressional Democrats and relatives of the victims of December’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., amped up pressure on GOP lawmakers to allow debate and votes on gun control proposals.

Meanwhile, participants from both parties said a bipartisan deal was imminent on expanding required federal background checks to gun purchases conducted at gun shows and online. The two chief negotiators, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., were expected to announce the compromise today.

Manchin and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters late Tuesday that a deal was close. A Toomey aide said the same, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door bargaining.

Reid said he did not know if he had the 60 votes he will need to defeat the conservatives’ roadblock. But at least eight Republicans have said they want to begin debate or have indicated a willingness to consider it: Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Susan Collins of Maine, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

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