Three Republican senators who attempted to filibuster gun legislation falsely claimed Thursday that no one had read the bill being voted on.
The Senate voted 68-31 to move a gun bill to the floor for debate, defeating a filibuster lead by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). Prior to the vote, the three senators accused the Senate of voting on legislation that no one had even read.
“This morning the Senate will vote on the motion to proceed to the firearms bill (S.649),” they said in a joint statement. “It is expected that the Toomey-Manchin provision announced yesterday will replace the current language regarding background checks. Yet, as of this morning, not a single senator has been provided the legislative language of this provision. Because the background-check measure is the centerpiece of this legislation it is critical that we know what is in the bill before we vote on it. The American people expect more and deserve better.
“Unfortunately, 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 three senators added. “We believe the abuse of the process is how the rights of Americans are systematically eroded and we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent it.”
But the full text of the bill — the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 — has been publicly available since late March.
The Toomey-Manchin provision referenced by the senators has yet to be voted on because is being offered as an amendment to the legislation. The amendment would replace a stricter provision regarding background checks.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said the Senate will have the opportunity to debate and vote on the Toomey-Manchin amendment, along with other amendments. The process is expected to take at least two weeks.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) released the full text of the amendment on Thursday afternoon.