Senate rushes to get gun deal in place

As of the time this post is published, we still don’t have any legislative text to look at, but Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told reporters on Tuesday morning that he expects the framework agreed to a couple of weeks ago to result in a bill hitting the Senate floor later today.

The Texas Republican said negotiators, including his fellow Republican Senator Thom Tillis and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Kyrsten Sinema, spoke early in the day by phone and were now waiting for staff to produce legislative text.

“I think we’re on a glide path, and hopefully it will land shortly,” Cornyn said in an interview shortly after speaking with his fellow negotiators. He added that he expected the bill to be introduced on the Senate floor later in the day but gave no specific time.

Introducing the bill on Tuesday would improve the odds of Senate passage before lawmakers leave for their two-week July 4 break at the end of this week.

Yeah, about that. I know that there’s a huge amount of pressure coming from Democrats to hold a vote before senators skedaddle home for the holiday, but it’s even more important to go over every line of that legislation with a fine-toothed comb to ferret out any hidden features that might be buried in page after page of mind-numbing legalese. The only reason to rush a vote is to meet a self-imposed artificial (and political) deadline, and if senators don’t have time to read the fine print before they’re told they have to say “aye” or “nay” that’s a huge problem.

It’s not that I don’t trust anti-gun Democrats to quietly insert some additional gun control initiatives into the legislation, it’s that… well, no, actually I guess it is that I don’t trust Democrats in these negotiations. I know that they’re desperate to pass anything they can conceivably call a victory and the “most substantial piece of gun safety reform in 30 years”, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to sneak a few extra restrictions if they think they can get away with it, and a swift vote would make it easier for them to do so.

Of course, it’s also possible that no text emerges today after all. There were reports from Fox News on Monday that a bill would be released yesterday afternoon, though none appeared, and it looks like there are still some issues yet to be addressed, including… abortion funding?

Negotiators working to turn the agreed-upon legislative framework into draft text are now focusing on the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funding from being used to pay for abortions. That provision has gotten caught up in the portion of the possible gun law dealing with mental health funding, with Republicans pushing for language barring any money in an ultimate agreement from being used pay for abortions, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The snag marks the latest curveball in discussions that sources have said would have to result in legislative text by the end of Tuesday in order to pass a bill before the two-week break for July 4.

llinois Democrat Dick Durbin, the Senate majority whip, suggested to ABC News on Tuesday that conversations over the Hyde Amendment could be resolved quickly and aides were still optimistic that an overall deal would not be derailed.

One way or the other, I guess we’ll know soon enough whether a vote will take place this week and what will specifically be voted on. Stay tuned, and  stay in contact with your congresscritters to let them know where you stand.