NRA’s A-Rated Senators Caving on Gun Control

By:  Bob Adelmann
NRA’s A-Rated Senators Caving on Gun Control

Senators with A ratings from the National Rifle Association often use them as cover as they vote against the Second Amendment. The vote to stop Senator Rand Paul's planned filibuster against the anti-gun S. 649 is a classic example.

With S. 649 likely Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's last chance to pass gun control legislation in this session, Senator John Manchin (D-W.Va.) has been working hard to bring the National Rifle Association into the discussion on how to make the bill palatable to those opposed to the background-checks. On the other hand, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been working on an effort to stop the legislation by filibustering it.

But Paul's effort was thwarted on April 11 when the Senate invoked cloture by a 68-to-31 vote (8 more "yea" votes than needed to invoke cloture), allowing the bill to proceed. Shortly before the vote, Senators Paul, Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) released a joint statement saying, "The effort to push through legislation that no one had read highlights one of the primary reasons we announced our intention to force a 60 vote threshold."

The 68 senators who voted for allowing the anti-gun bill to proceed included 13 Republicans and 9 Democrats with "A" ratings with the NRA. The "A" rated Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to invoke cloture included Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.); Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Corburn (R-Okla.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dean Heller (R.-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) — and, with an "A+" NRA rating, Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

Manchin had been working for weeks with the NRA to soften some of the language in the bill to make it more acceptable to his colleagues for when a vote is taken on the bill itself. With the help of lawmakers possessing "A" ratings from the NRA, the bill will now proceed to that up-and-down vote.

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