Biden sits down with Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy to discuss gun reform – despite him saying the Senate ‘needs to do this ourselves’ and White House promising to ‘give some space’ – as Chuck Schumer extends GOP talks
- Biden met with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy at White House
- Two talked gun reform as negotiations are ongoing in the Senate
- Murphy had suggested Biden should stay out of talks
- Murphy leading talks for Democrats; John Cornyn leading for Republicans
- Murphy said he hopes to have a deal by end of week on bipartisan legislation
The two men met on the patio outside the Oval Office to discuss the issue, according to photos released of their meeting. Their sit down comes after some lawmakers, including Murphy, urged the president to stay out of the talks.
Senators are meeting behind-closed-doors this week to hash out the details of a bill that could garner the necessary 60 votes to advance through the legislative process.
Murphy, who is leading talks for the Democrats, said his goal was to have a bipartisan deal by the end of the week. He’s also said Biden’s presence would not be helpful in negotiations.
‘I think the Senate needs to do this ourselves,’ the Democratic senator from Connecticut told CNN on Sunday.
‘I have talked to the White House every single day since these negotiations began. But, right now, the Senate needs to handle these negotiations. I think, this week, we need to have concepts to present to our colleagues,’ he said.
The sitdown also comes after Biden’s prime time speech on Thursday night where he called for expanded background checks, an assault weapons ban or raising the purchase age to 21, red flag laws, mental health programs, and removing the liability shield for gun manufactureres.
There is some concern that if Biden becomes involve, the issue could get lost in the politics of the upcoming midterm election, harming the chances for legislation to get passed.
President Joe Biden met with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy on Tuesday to discuss Senate negotiations on gun reform
Some lawmakers, including Senator Chris Murphy (right), had said President Biden should stay out of Senate negotiations
And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday warned Democrats that the final legislation may not contain their full wishlist of items.
‘There is virtual unanimity amongst Senate Democrats that getting something passed through this chamber is worth pursuing if it will make a tangible difference in preventing gun violence,’ Schumer said on the Senate floor.
‘We know that we’re not going to get everything we want, we know that the push for even more meaningful gun safety will continue after this debate, but making real progress is very important,’ he added.
‘Senator Murphy has asked for some space to have the bipartisan talks continue and I have given him that space.’
Murphy, Sens. John Cornyn, Republican of Texas; and Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, met for about two hours Monday night to discuss a path forward.
Cornyn is leading efforts for Republicans as Murphy does the same for the Democrats.
‘My hope is that we are able to come to an agreement by the end of the week,’ Murphy said. ‘The discussions have been really positive. I still am hopeful we’ll be able to get a product.’
Any legislation would need buy-in from Senator Joe Manchin and Sinema, the more moderate Democrats, plus at least 10 Republicans in order to make its way through the legislative process.
‘What I’m interested in is keeping guns out of the hands of those who, by current law, are not supposed to have them: people with mental health problems, people who have criminal records,’ Cornyn said of the talks.
The lawmakers are looking at legislation that would reform background checks, encourage state red flag laws, enhance school safety and provide new mental health programs, Politico reported.
Republicans had been pushing for more time to negotiate and were worried Schumer would make good on his pledge to begin voting on Democratic gun legislation if the talks appear to be fruitless.
But Schumer’s remarks on Tuesday will give negotiators more time to talk specifics.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas is leading gun legislation talks for Republicans
The bipartisan group of senators hope to reach an agreement on gun legislation by the end of the week, after a wave of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The negotiations have the approval of Schumer and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell.
‘Good consensus legislation takes time,’ Cornyn said. ‘The only way we can get a bill that can pass both chambers and earn the president’s signature is by taking the time and reaching that consensus.’