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McConnell wants Trump support before pledging to take up gun control

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Congress reconvenes next week, and lawmakers in the Senate have urged the upper chamber to take up proposed new gun control legislation following multiple shooting attacks in recent weeks. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
Congress reconvenes next week, and lawmakers in the Senate have urged the upper chamber to take up proposed new gun control legislation following multiple shooting attacks in recent weeks. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday answered calls to take up new gun control legislation by saying he'll allow them on the upper chamber floor if President Donald Trump is OK with them.

The Kentucky Republican has faced increasing pressure in recent weeks to allow debate on proposed gun legislation that was passed by the House. The calls have grown steadily following a string of deadly shooting attacks in Texas, Ohio and California. The most recent, last weekend, killed seven people.

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Lawmakers have been on recess for weeks and don't reconvene until next week. A handful of Democratic lawmakers have unsuccessfully urged McConnell to call the Senate back early to consider the gun bill.

Trump has said recently he supports "meaningful" change, notably stronger background checks. McConnell said Tuesday he expects an answer from Trump next week about support for the proposed legislation.

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"If the president is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly and I know that if we pass it, it will become law, I'll put it on the floor," he said.

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The Democrat-led House has passed multiple gun control bills, including a universal background check bill, but the Republican-majority Senate has been hesitant to take up such proposals without Trump's support.

McConnell said lawmakers are in discussions with the White House about what actions, if any, to take. He didn't specify which bills they could consider.

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"I said several weeks ago that if the president took a position on a bill, so that we knew we would actually be making a law and not just having serial votes, I'd be happy to put it on the floor," McConnell said.

If Trump supports background checks, "we will be able to get 60 votes in the Senate," Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said last week.

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