BREAKING NEWS Police: At least 11 wounded in mass shooting at Grenada biker club Full Story

McConnell silent on floor as gun debate rages

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not mention the raging debate over gun control when he opened the Senate o...

Posted: Mar 1, 2018 5:46 PM
Updated: Mar 1, 2018 5:46 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not mention the raging debate over gun control when he opened the Senate on Thursday, a day after President Donald Trump created widespread confusion about what policies he wants Congress to pursue at an extraordinary televised meeting with bipartisan lawmakers at the White House.

At the rambling and far-reaching session, Trump appeared to embrace more Democratic proposals than Republican. That left lawmakers from both parties uncertain about what their next steps should be, especially as they warily await to see if Trump reverses course on any of those controversial positions after sleeping on them.

McConnell, cautious by nature, is aware that's possible. He has witnessed Trump do it before on immigration and other issues, and may be keeping his powder dry to see how things shake out.

That might help explain why the veteran Kentucky senator, who has carefully navigated the politically treacherous gun debate since the mass shooting at a high school in Florida two weeks ago, declined to offer any words or direction about the policy path he would like the GOP-controlled House and Senate to take -- even though his colleagues and many Americans are anxious to know his intentions.

RELATED: The 43 most eye-popping lines from Donald Trump's 'surreal' gathering on guns

Instead, he spoke on the floor briefly about the late evangelist Billy Graham, whose body was laying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, and more extensively about tax reform, the key legislative accomplishment that just passed Congress.

Graham was a "remarkable man whose preaching inspired millions worldwide, who counseled presidents and world leaders across generations, and whom an entire nation came to know as 'America's pastor,'" McConnell said.

McConnell and other Republicans clearly were caught off guard by the freewheeling White House meeting Wednesday, when Trump seemed to dismiss their concerns about raising the age from 18 to 21 to buy some rifles, expanding background checks to all purchases and doing away with due process rights for people who are turned down from buying gun after being rejected through a background check.

McConnell had never pushed for a full-throated debate on gun control, despite the recent spate of mass shootings. Earlier this week, he tried to quickly approve a bill making modest changes to background checks.

On Monday, he asked for unanimous consent from all senators to vote on, with limited debate, a measure to improve reporting compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System through financial incentives, a bill co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and the second ranking GOP member in the chamber, and Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. But the plan -- which is referred to as "Fix NICS" -- got bogged down when conservative Republicans raised objections to it.

Now McConnell and GOP leaders must figure out what to do next, balancing the President's call for action against their own heartfelt concerns about limiting the Second Amendment rights of their constituents and the political backlash they might face if they voted for Trump's proposed restrictions.

McConnell discussed the difficulty of passing gun legislation at a news conference Tuesday.

"We have been down this path before. There are bipartisan differences about how to address this issue that continually snag every effort," he said. "So what Sen. Cornyn has suggested is that we take something we all agree on -- not in any way claiming it's a panacea but at least show some progress toward dealing with one element of the problem."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 51°
Columbus
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Oxford
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 44°
Starkville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 46°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather