Graham Won't Block Gun Control; Dolan Thinks Church Needs to Work with Gays

The Senate's Gang of Eight were out in full force on the Sunday shows to tell us how far they are from presenting the bipartisan immigration bill; Sen. Jeff Flake thinks a same-sex marriage supporting GOP candidate is "inevitable': Cardinal Dolan wants to better the church's relationship with gays. 

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Sen. Lindsey Graham announced he will not be join other Republican Senators planning to filibuster any gun reform bills on CNN's State of the Union. "The only way I would filibuster a bill is if Sen. [Harry] Reid did not allow alternative amendments," Graham told Candy Crowley. Graham argued he would rather see the current system fixed and better enforced than see a new background check system pass. "I don't think" it will pass, Graham said. "Nothing we're talking about would not have prevented Newtown from happening. The guy [shooter Adam Lanza] did not fail a background check," the senator added. Graham also touched briefly on the bipartisan immigration reform bill he's working on with eight other Senators. The bill has been approved by all the overseers. It just need to be written, Graham said. "I think we've got a deal. We've got to write the legislation, but 2013, I hope, will be the year that we pass bipartisan immigration reform," Graham said. Graham assured Crowley it would pass easily because it satisfies everything that all parties are asking for. "It will pass the House because it secures our borders, it controls who gets a job... [and] the 11 million [undocumented immigrations] will have a pathway to citizenship, but it will be earned, it will be long, and it will be hard," Graham said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer -- one of the other eight Senators working on the immigration reform bill -- said he hoped the bill would make it to the Senate floor in May during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press. "I am very, very optimistic that we will have an agreement among the eight of us next week. Sen. [Patrick] Leahy has agreed to have extensive markup and debate on the bill in April, and then we go to the floor, God willing, in May," Schumer said. "With the agreement between business and labor, every major policy issue has been resolved on the Gang of Eight," he added. But there are still some major hurdles, he cautioned. For example, the language of the bill still has to be written and debated. "We're not going to come to a final agreement until we see draft legislative language and we agree on that. We drafted some of it already, the rest will be drafted this week," Schumer said. "I am very, very optimistic that we will have an agreement among the eight of us next week."

Later on Meet the Press, David Axelrod said the President was keen to pass immigration reform during his second term. "He wants this accomplishment. This is a legacy item for him. There is no doubt in my mind he wants to pass comprehensive immigration reform," Axelrod said.

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is still hopeful a "sensible compromise" can be reached on gun reform bills when they come before the Senate, he told Candy Crowley on State of the Union. Blumenthal is still optimistic universal background checks could pass. The Connecticut Senator also promised he would add an amendment to any gun reform bill limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines. "The majority leader has assured me... that we can offer amendments on both the assault weapons ban and the prohibition on high-capacity magazines," Blumenthal said. "So there will be votes." Crowley asked if he thinks the gun reform movement would be considered a failure if a limit on high-capacity magazines didn't pass. Blumenthal didn't think so. "Any step that saves lives is a step in the right direction," he said. "The question is not winning or losing here, but really, saving lives, which the people of Newtown... want to happen."

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake -- one of eight Senators working on bipartisan immigration reform -- said it is "inevitable" a Republican Presidential candidate supports gay marriage some day. Not that his view is changing any time soon, mind you. "I think that's inevitable. There will be one, and I think he'll receive Republican support, or she will, so I think that...The answer is yes," Flake said on Meet the Press. But, yeah, he still doesn't support gay marriage. "I still hold to the traditional definition of marriage," Flake said. He doesn't see his position changing any time soon.

Former Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie doesn't seem to agree with Flake, though. He said on Fox News Sunday that he "wouldn't have any problem" with a Republican platform that supports traditional marriage. "I don't ever think you'd ever see the Republican Party platform say 'we're in favor' of same-sex marriage," Gillespie said. He predicted Republicans would advocate federal laws restricting gay rights would be condemned by Republicans, but they would still argue gay marriage was up to the states to decide.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan thinks Americans are still a very religious people, dismissing new poll numbers showing more and more Americans drifting away from the church. CBS' Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked Dolan to "judge the state of America's spirituality these days," after showing him poll numbers showing 20 percent of Americans claiming no affiliation to the church. Dolan did say the survey was "somber," but argued that America is still a religious nation -- it's the church they have the problem with. He said the U.S. is "still a very strong religious nation," but that some people "have some troubles with the church." In a sign that Cardinal Dolan might understand where the world is going, he said the church needs to work harder to reach out to gay members during an appearance on ABC's This Week. "We gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven't been too good at that. We try our darndest to make sure we're not an anti-anybody," he said. He doesn't have any bright ideas as to how the church could fix that problem, though. "I don't know. We're still trying. We're trying our best to do it. We got to listen to people," Dolan said. "Jesus died on the cross for them as much as he did for me." But that doesn't mean Dolan has evolved on gay marriage. Oh no, he still thinks gays should not marry and that sex between two males or two females is wrong. "Sexual love... is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally," Dolan said. "Sometimes we're not as successful or as effective as we can be in translating that warm embrace into also teaching what God has told us about the way He wants us to live," Dolan added.

Here's Dolan on Face the Nation:

Here's Dolan on This Week:

Rep. Peter King doesn't think we should talk to North Korea. "I don't see any purpose in that. As far as I see, [North Korea] is not even a government. It's more like an organized crime family running a territory. They are brutal," the New Yorker said on ABC's This Week. "It would demoralize our allies in Asia... and it would to me serve no constructive purpose whatsoever." On Friday, Kim Jong-Un threatened retaliation against Western countries for the sanctions crippling his country. "Kim Kong-Un is trying to establish himself, trying to be the tough guy. He's 28, 29 years old, and he keeps going further and further out," King said. "My concern would be that he may launch some sort of attack on South Korea."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.