The planned GOP filibuster of gun-control legislation was losing steam on Tuesday, as more than half a dozen GOP lawmakers abandoned their conservative colleagues’ effort to block consideration of the bill.
“It’s incomprehensible to me that we would not move forward with debate and amendments on an issue this important to the American people,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Democrats and independent lawmakers who caucus with them control 55 seats in the Senate, though Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has been ill and absent of late. If all of Democrats and allied independents toe the party line, then the newly announced GOP defections would likely be enough to overcome the threatened filibuster.
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"I want to proceed to this bill. I want to debate it. I am not afraid of this bill," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. told reporters.
Some Republicans suggested their willingness to vote down the filibuster was tied to the right to attempt to amend the gun control legislation on the floor.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would file cloture Tuesday to force a vote later this week to proceed to the bill over the objections of a dozen GOP senators.