New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte announces this morning that she will not support the Manchin-Toomey gun bill, which is supposed to be voted on today in the Senate. Instead, Ayotte says, she is supporting "the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act."
Here's Ayotte's announcement:
"Last week, I voted to initiate Senate debate on preventing violence and protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Several proposals have been brought forward, and I've been carefully reviewing them all.
"There are responsible steps that can be taken to stop criminals and others who are already prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law from obtaining them. With those principles as a guide, I am cosponsoring the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, which includes needed reforms to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, addresses mental health gaps in the criminal justice system, and criminalizes gun trafficking and straw purchases.
"To further address the need to improve the nation's mental health system, I also am co-sponsoring the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act. This bipartisan measure includes provisions of legislation I helped introduce that seek to improve mental health first aid training and increase the effectiveness of mental health care across the nation.
"I believe that restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners will not prevent a deranged individual or criminal from obtaining and misusing firearms to commit violence. While steps must be taken to improve the existing background check system, I will not support the Manchin-Toomey legislation, which I believe would place unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners and allow for potential overreach by the federal government into private gun sales."
Senator Pat Toomey has finally posted the full text of "The Public Safety And Second Amendment Rights Protection Act," the so called gun Senate compromise bill, agreed upon by Toomey, Joe Manchin, and Chuck Schumer. Here's the text of 7,800 word bill:
On November 7, Republican senator Pat Toomey proposed a compromise on taxes to members of the supercommittee tasked with cutting the deficit. “There was a moment there, a 24-hour period, when several Democrats expressed a great deal of interest in the framework I laid out,” Toomey tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, called Toomey's proposal a "breakthrough."
House speaker John Boehner has chosen Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas to be co-chair of the joint select committee on deficit reduction, or the so-called supercommittee. Reps. Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both of Michigan, were also selected by Boehner to represent the House Republicans on the supercommittee. Meanwhile, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has chosen fellow senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Rob Portman of Ohio as the GOP Senate representatives.
The latest indestructible media meme is that Republicans are in disarray over Paul Ryan's proposed Medicare reform. "Republican rift widens on Medicare," write The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Julian Pecquet today.
Four new Republican senators--Marco Rubio (Fla.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), and Pat Toomey (Penn.)--just concluded a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and senators Richard Burr (N.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) were on the trip as well.
Many people are talking about the dramatic tightening of the Pennsylvania Senate race between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak. But upon closer inspection, most of that apparent tightening seems to be a mirage.
During the Pennsylvania Senate debate on Wednesday night, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak each tried to paint the other as too extreme to represent the Keystone state. Both candidates came well-armed with their talking points and were fairly well-matched rhetorically. Toomey was businesslike and bland, while Sestak spoke in hushed "more-in-sadness-than-in-anger" tones, with the occasional flash of indignation.
After some initial skepticism at a PPP poll that showed Democrat Joe Sestak one point ahead of Republican Pat Toomey in the Pennsylvania Senate race (46% to 45%), another poll by Muhlenberg showed Sestak up three, 44% to 41%. That was enough to wake up conservatives.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, declares: "You can put Pennsylvania Senate back in the toss up category. Joe Sestak leads Pat Toomey 46-45 in our newest poll of the race, erasing the 9 point deficit he had in an August PPP survey."