House Democrats concerned over Senate deal

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House Democrats love them some gun control. That’s been obvious for a while now, even as they passed anti-gun measures knowing full well the Senate was trying to reach a deal on something that might actually pass.

It was kind of a middle finger to the “spirit of compromise” that many of those same Democrats have been calling for on Second Amendment issues.

Yet now, a deal has been reached. Many on this side of the debate are less than thrilled.

It seems that some folks on the other side have their own concerns.

House liberals are ready to embrace the modest Senate gun deal as a huge breakthrough after years of rising mass shootings. That is, if a bill actually makes it to them.

Progressives said they are encouraged by the announcement over the weekend of 20 Senate supporters for a gun-safety framework that Democratic leaders are now racing to bring to the floor as soon as this month. But many of them also remain dubious that those senators can finish the painstaking work of turning their baseline agreement into detailed legislative text.

They’ve been burned by the Senate before. And House liberals are eager to avoid déjà vu after the upper chamber released its last big “framework” on social spending, only to watch centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) tank President Joe Biden’s signature domestic policy bill months later.

They’ve been burned by the Senate before. And House liberals are eager to avoid déjà vu after the upper chamber released its last big “framework” on social spending, only to watch centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) tank President Joe Biden’s signature domestic policy bill months later.

“The difference between a press release and a bill could be a big difference,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who noted he is undecided on how he’d vote on the Senate framework. He said the deal appears to rely too much on individual states taking steps on their own to expand so-called red flag laws or to allow access to juvenile records for background checks — with tricky legislative language needed to clarify.

“I’m concerned about it. I don’t want to have missed an opportunity, since we’ve done nothing for 30 years,” Doggett said, noting he plans to raise some of those issues with fellow progressives this week.

Doggett’s not the only Democrat with hesitations. None other than AOC herself says she’s bothered by opening up juvenile records to background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21, and other progressives say they don’t want to see increased spending on school security lead to more police in schools.

Nothing in the world would be funnier than progressives tanking the first Senate gun-control bill in 30 years on “something something white supremacy” grounds.

It’s unimaginable that Democrats would gift-wrap a talking point for the GOP by killing gun legislation that has bipartisan support in the Senate but AOC’s concerns here highlight a tension on the left about guns. On the one hand, they want more laws to limit Americans’ access to firearms. On the other hand, they want fewer cops and an end to “the carceral state.” If you want guns off the street but you also want to defund the police, how do you prioritize between those two?

Now, Cam wrote on Monday about whether the deal can be defeated. Well, it looks like there are still ways it can.

However, let’s also be honest here, if the deal falls through, it’ll be because some Democrat decided to play a clever twist of phrasing to broaden the measures beyond what Republicans agreed to, but hoping that no one will notice.

The law is often filled with the kind of thing where a particular phrase changes the meaning entirely from what you might otherwise think. Such a trick might push at least some of those 10 Republicans from supporting the measure, thus scuttling the effort entirely.

Which is good news.

Yet it also appears there are some Democrats who aren’t thrilled with the measure because it doesn’t go far enough. If they vote against it in the House, along with that chamber’s GOP members, it might also kill the measure.

So yeah, this isn’t a done deal by any stretch of the imagination.