Boehner's Noncommittal on Gun Control

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 10 2013 11:53 AM

Boehner's Noncommittal on Gun Control

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a press conference, March 21, 2013, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a press conference, March 21, 2013, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The big gun control compromise in the Senate hasn't impressed Speaker of the House John Boehner, judging by his response to the bipartisan background check expansion agreement announced Wednesday morning. His comments are a good reminder of the tougher time any gun control legislation will have getting through the Republican-controlled House, even as the more immediate possibility of a filibuster in the Senate seems to be all but sidelined.

According to the Hill, Boehner essentially committed to noncommittal on the bill until it actually passes the Senate. Here's what he told reporters in response to several questions on the Senate compromise:

“As I’ve made clear, any bill that passes the Senate, we’re going to review it. ... In the meantime we’re going to continue to have hearings looking at the source of violence in our country. We’re going to wait and see what actually passes over in the Senate. ... It’s one thing for members to come to some agreement. That doesn’t substitute the will of the other 98 members. We’ll wait and see what the Senate does.”
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Boehner did, however, imply that he believes the background check discussion should focus on enforcement rather than expansion:

“We’re not enforcing the laws that we have on the books today, and so if we’re going to have a background check that’s in the law, lets make sure we do a real background check, which in not all cases actually happens.”

After the White House's emotionally charged gun control push on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set a Thursday vote to send the bill to the floor for debate. Democrats need 60 votes to overcome a promised filibuster on that vote by 14 Republican senators. But now, Republicans in the Senate will have a much easier time politically justifying a vote to move the bill forward. Whether a compromise bill will do the same for House Republicans is another story.

For more on what's going on in the Senate on the gun control bill, head on over to Dave Weigel's piece on why the filibuster threat is a win for Democrats.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.