House Dems reach deal on "assault weapons" ban?

Has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi managed to corral her caucus into supporting bills to give grants to local law enforcement and ban so-called assault weapons? Earlier this week Pelosi said that no votes would be held before the House adjourned for its August recess this afternoon, but on Thursday evening the House Rules Committee adopted a rule that allows legislation like HR 1808 to be brought to the House floor on the same day its considered by the committee, without having to win 2/3rds approval of committee members.

Punchbowl News also reports that an agreement has been struck among House Democrats.

Breaking overnight: The Congressional Black Caucus’ chair, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), has reached a preliminary agreement with Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) on a pair of bills that provide more funding for police departments.

This could lead to a floor vote on an assault weapons ban today, as well as passage of the police funding package, although this isn’t set yet.

Beatty and other CBC members have been pushing for the addition of “accountability” language to the funding bills – provisions that spell out how police departments handle accusations of misconduct or improper behavior. A source close to the talks said Beatty secured such language in both bills.

The CBC will meet this morning to discuss whether to support the revised legislation.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus – the other key faction in this debate – needs to sign off as well. The CPC hadn’t seen the new accountability language as of Thursday night and will discuss it today.

The leadership – namely Speaker Nancy Pelosi – is pushing for a vote on all these measures before the House leaves town for the August recess. Pelosi is reportedly set to leave for a high-profile trip to Asia this evening.

Should the CBC and CPC approve of the police funding deal – and the situation was still fluid at press time – the leadership could then bring up the assault weapons ban, as well as the police-funding package. We scooped this last night.

Based on Punchbowl’s reporting, it sounds like Pelosi made the move to bring both the AWB and the police funding bill to the floor of the House today despite not being assured that the votes are their to pass either bill. Still, the move buys her a few more hours of time to try to pressure her caucus into coming together before the House recesses for at least two weeks starting this evening.

Note too that, at least in Punchbowl’s reporting, the big hangup appears to be among progressives in the House. Does that mean that Pelosi has secured the votes for the gun ban bill proposed by Rep. David Cicillini? We haven’t heard any Democrats who were on the fence come out in favor of the ban in the past 24 hours, and the legislative page for HR 1808 still lists 212 co-sponsors. Democrats have a four-seat majority in the House at the moment but at least two Democrats have already said they’re opposed to legislation, and several others have said they’re undecided. At least two House Republicans, however, have signaled their support for the gun ban legislation, so the margin is going to be razor-thin either way.

Still, passage won’t get any easier for Pelosi after the August recess. On August 9th voters in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District will head to the polls in a special election that could drop Democrats’ advantage in the House to just three seats, and the “moderate” Democrats who are hesitant to support a gun ban now are going to be even less inclined to do so the closer we get to Election Day.

As one of my sources on Capitol Hill told me this morning, it’s unclear that Pelosi has the votes, but she’s going to do everything she can to get this gun ban bill across the finish line today before the House adjourns and members head home to their districts.