House Republican leaders’ plan to hold a vote on a gun-control bill this week is on hold as they determine whether they have enough support to pass a broader package of counterterrorism measures, reports the Washington Post.
GOP leaders announced last week that they planned to hold a vote as soon as today on legislation that would prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms if the government can prove within three business days that there is probable cause to believe they have terrorist ties or sympathies. The plans for a vote encountered resistance from some Republican members who are pressing for amendments to the package. “What we’re trying to do is gain the consensus of a majority of the people,” said Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Tx.), whose panel postponed a meeting to set parameters for debating the bill. “My job is to take and pass things, not just get things up and debate them.”
Democrats oppose the GOP package as they push stricter gun restrictions after the mass nightclub shooting in Orlando. Republicans are concerned that the bill would not give individuals enough legal recourse to challenge their inclusion on a watch list and that it would give expanded powers to the Justice and Homeland Security departments. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said leaders are “just kind of putting bills together that are talking-point, bullet-point oriented, that don’t have substance” and are “messaging gimmicks.” Brat objects to the ideas of putting the attorney general in control of the the list of suspected terrorists and creating a new counterterrorism office within the Department of Homeland Security. If Attorney General Loretta Lynch “is still going to be in charge of who’s on the list, that’s a problem,” he said.
Brat added that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is too “involved in the unconstitutional amnesty” plan to shield illegal immigrants from deportation, which a deadlocked Supreme Court blocked last month, to be trusted with more responsibility.