Sanders pledges to support Clinton – Washington Post

By John Wagner,

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Bernie Sanders pledged to support presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a boisterous but at times awkward rally here Tuesday, more than a month after Clinton effectively clinched the nomination.

“She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States,” the senator from Vermont said in this battleground state, where the former rivals appeared side by side on a stage in a packed high school gym.

Sanders and Clinton touted the need to come together to defeat Republican Donald Trump, and both offered effusive praise for the other — words not uttered during the bruising Democratic primaries. But their body language was stiff, and it was clear from shouts of “We love you, Bernie!” that not everyone who supported Sanders was ready to move on.

Even with a few scattered signs of discord, however, Clinton and Sanders presented a more unified portrait of the Democratic Party than Trump has been able to do with the GOP, which remains deeply fractured over the real estate mogul’s candidacy just a few days ahead of its national convention in Cleveland.

Clinton sought to emphasize unity in her speech, entering with Sanders to a Bruce Springsteen anthem that was standard at his rallies. Speaking directly to Sanders’s supporters, she welcomed them to her campaign and encouraged them to “make it your own.”

“You will always have a seat at the table when I am in the White House,” she said.

Much remains unknown about whether the political marriage between Clinton and Sanders will work. As they shook hands on their way to the stage, both were guarded by separate Secret Service teams and waved in different directions. And signs of lingering tension remained as some supporters yelled at one another and a police officer intervened to mediate a dispute in the bleachers.

The crowd was sprinkled with “Bernie for President” placards, and some of his supporters were decked out in “Bernie” T-shirts.

“I’m not going to say I’m delighted,” Brynn McDonnell, 24, a former Sanders volunteer in the audience, said when asked about the endorsement. “I think it’s a political move he has to make.”

“There are some Bernie supporters who want to go for Trump, and it’s important for people to understand that Bernie is the antithesis of Trump,” said McDonnell, who recently moved to New Hampshire from Iowa.

[Finally, Clinton and Sanders enter a political marriage. Will it work?]

Although they have a common enemy in Trump, Clinton and Sanders don’t have much of a personal or professional relationship. Their chemistry Tuesday offered a marked contrast to that on display at a recent Clinton event featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), another darling of the party’s progressive wing. While Warren punched the air to accentuate Clinton’s applause lines, both Clinton and Sanders were more tepid in their enthusiasm for each other. Clinton and Warren seemed like a tag team; Clinton and Sanders presented more simply as a joint appearance.

As Clinton spoke, Sanders stood with his hands alternately clasped behind him and in front of him, applauding politely as Clinton talked about the need to learn from the Dallas shootings and to implement her agenda items.

Although Sanders left no doubt that he would support Clinton in the fall, he also touched on his accomplishments in the primaries, noting that he had won 22 states and would be taking nearly 1,900 delegates to the convention in Philadelphia.

“Together we have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution continues,” he said. “Together we will continue to fight for a government that represents all of us and not just the 1 percent.”

Sanders devoted the bulk of his speech to the issues that he fought for during the campaign, pausing to note areas where he and Clinton shared common goals.

He broke into his broadest smile of the event when Clinton referred to his vast success at soliciting campaign contributions — averaging $27 apiece — via the Internet.

“We accept $27 donations, too, you know,” she told the crowd.

The rally began with two Sanders supporters speaking: environmental leader Bill McKibben and Jim Dean, the leader of Democracy for America, a grass-roots group that endorsed Sanders in the primaries.

Dean announced that his group will now support Clinton.

McKibben touted Sanders’s appeal to young voters and said he hopes the Democratic Party will “not disappoint them” going forward.

“Secretary Clinton, we wish you Godspeed in the fight that now looms,” McKibben said.

Although Clinton is the presumed nominee, aides said Sanders has no plans to suspend his campaign or formally exit the race before the convention two weeks from now in Philadelphia.

Sanders’s decision to keep his campaign alive has alienated many Democrats, who thought the senator should have been more gracious in accepting defeat after a grueling nominating process. But it may have given him more leverage to push for changes to the party platform.

Just in the past week, Clinton agreed to push policies on free college tuition and expanded access to health insurance that reflect positions Sanders championed during the primaries. And Sanders has claimed major wins such as support for a $15 federal minimum wage and measures to combat climate change.

[Sanders secures health-care promises from Clinton before expected endorsement]

The joint appearance here was greeted with a news release from the Trump campaign highlighting the “top five reasons Sanders supporters will never be excited about Hillary Clinton.”

One of them was her past support for international trade deals, which Sanders repeatedly criticized during the primaries. Trump has tried to reach out to Sanders’s supporters on that issue, particularly those in the Rust Belt, where thousands of manufacturing jobs have been shed.

It remains to be seen how active Sanders will be on the campaign trail for Clinton — and how much he can do on her behalf.

Sanders supporters had begun consolidating around Clinton’s candidacy after she all but secured the nomination in May, according to Washington Post-ABC News polling.

Before then, 71 percent of Democratic-leaning Sanders voters supported Clinton against Trump in a two-way matchup. The number rose to 81 percent in June — larger than the share of 2008 Clinton backers who supported Barack Obama at a similar point that year.

Although only 8 percent of Sanders voters said they support Trump, the latest poll found that third-party candidates pose a risk to Clinton. In a four-way matchup, 11 percent of Sanders Democrats said they would back Green Party candidate Jill Stein and 8 percent would back Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, dragging Clinton’s support down to 65 percent.

Aides to the two candidates have discussed sending Sanders to states where he performed well in the primaries, including Michigan and Wisconsin. New Hampshire also fits that category; Sanders defeated Clinton here by 22 percentage points in the February primary.

As of Tuesday, aides to both Sanders and Clinton said there are no concrete plans for the senator to campaign on Clinton’s behalf.

Read more:

Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton on the issues

Donald Trump will make his mind up on VP pick in ‘next three to four days’

Most Americans disapprove of FBI decision to exonerate Hillary Clinton

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Bernie Sanders defied expectations with long-shot presidential campaign – USA TODAY

Bernie Sanders is expected to officially endorse Hillary Clinton after withholding his support for weeks. His campaign has shifted Democratic policy. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

WASHINGTON — Who would have thought, just over a year ago, that a gruff septuagenarian with unruly hair and democratic socialist views would capture the imaginations of young people and support from more than 13 million voters in a long-shot bid for the presidency?

Bernie Sanders was at least 50 points behind Hillary Clinton in some national polls when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in April 2015. But his call for a “political revolution” quickly gained momentum on social media, igniting a “feel the Bern” fever that ultimately drew nearly 1.5 million people to his rallies and other events across the country.

Clinton’s nomination may indeed have been inevitable, but Sanders’ surprising star power made it seem much less so.

“He got a tiger by the tail,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, which supported Sanders. “All of a sudden, he emerges on the scene and he became an immediate legend. People didn’t know who he was.”

USA TODAY

Analysis: The political perils Bernie Sanders poses for Hillary Clinton

Nearly a month after the District of Columbia held the final contest of the 2016 primary season, Sanders will campaign on Tuesday with Clinton in New Hampshire, where he is expected to finally endorse her after weeks of pressure to do so. He has held out on his official backing, using his leverage to advance goals he laid out for his legions of supporters in a live, online address last month.

Among those goals: defeating presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, working with Clinton to “transform” the Democratic Party, and encouraging like-minded progressives to run for public office — from school boards to Congress. Within 24 hours of that appeal, nearly 11,000 of his supporters expressed interest on BernieSanders.com.

USA TODAY

Clinton, Sanders to hold joint event Tuesday, endorsement expected

“My hope is that when future historians look back and describe how our country moved forward into reversing the drift toward oligarchy, and created a government which represents all the people and not just the few, they will note that, to a significant degree, that effort began with the political revolution of 2016,” Sanders said in his address.

Before last year, Sanders’ outrage over the “billionaire class” might have been captured only on C-SPAN and left-leaning news shows. But his presidential run changed that.

Sanders won 22 states and 45% of the pledged delegates, and he consistently led Clinton overwhelmingly among 18-29-year-olds. His campaign drew a record 8.2 million individual contributions from about 2.5 million donors, raising about $228 million largely through fundraising emails to supporters.

He railed against a “rigged economy” and a “corrupt” campaign finance system. And he elevated “yuge” ideas — in a thick Brooklyn accent — long important to progressives, including a $15 minimum wage, breaking up big banks, free public college, Medicare for all, an expansion of Social Security and a carbon tax to aggressively tackle climate change.

Sanders’ influence became obvious over the past week, when Clinton proposed expanding access to health care and eliminating college tuition for working families, and when national Democrats changed the party’s platform to incorporate his ideas. Sanders said those changes make the platform the most progressive in the party’s history.

“He ran a campaign from the heart,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show on June 9, after endorsing Clinton. “He took these issues and he really thrust them into the spotlight. And he brought millions of people into the political process.”

Sanders’ ascendancy surprised him as much anyone. When his communications director told him in September that a poll showed him leading Clinton by 10 points in Iowa, Sanders stepped away from the table where he had been sitting with a look of shock, caught his breath and whispered “Jesus.”

“We didn’t have a strategy to win this when we started,” said Tad Devine, one of Sanders’ top strategists. “We were just trying to be competitive. We were trying to be taken seriously.”

As the campaign began to gain on Clinton, the focus changed to winning Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Sanders did win New Hampshire — his vote total there set a record — but Clinton edged him out out in Iowa and defeated him in Nevada. And in South Carolina, the senator from mostly white Vermont couldn’t overcome Clinton’s long-standing support among African Americans. He acknowledged being “decimated” in the state.

“Plan B was, ‘How do we stay alive so that we can have a chance to win this thing?’” Devine said.

USA TODAY

Young supporters drive Sanders’ virtual tie with Clinton

Sanders targeted only five of the 11 states with March 1 nominating contests and won four. A surprise win in Michigan on March 8 and a string of seven victories in other states in late March and early April added to the campaign’s momentum. But a path to the nomination already looked mathematically impossible.

In hindsight, Devine said the campaign could have staffed early-voting states sooner and more aggressively. But at the time, raising enough money through small donations seemed to some like an “impossible goal.”

USA TODAY

How did Sanders win Michigan? Polls missed economics, enthusiasm

DeMoro said Sanders may have cost himself opportunities. For example, he spent a lot of time campaigning in the South, even though Clinton’s “firewall” of support among African Americans there was widely acknowledged. And Sanders passed on an easy target by telling the nation during an Oct. 13 debate with Clinton that Americans were sick of hearing about her “damn emails,” a reference to her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

“A normal politician would have taken the easy, low-hanging fruit — the email scandal,” DeMoro said. “He wanted to have a debate on policy.”

But Sanders showed he wasn’t afraid to play hardball.

At campaign rallies, he targeted Clinton’s donations from Wall Street and other special interests, and called on her to release transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and other corporations. Ahead of the New York primary, he alleged that Clinton wasn’t qualified to be president — a statement he later walked back — after Clinton declined to say whether she thought Sanders was qualified.

Sanders also spent much of the campaign feuding with the Democratic National Committee and its chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. He and the DNC clashed over the Democratic debate schedule, access to a DNC voter database, and a joint fundraising agreement between the DNC and Clinton. Sanders also attacked Wasserman Schultz for appointing “aggressive attack surrogates” for Clinton as co-chairs of key national convention committees.

USA TODAY

Sanders camp: Better options for DNC chair out there than Wasserman Schultz

Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator and a Sanders surrogate, said there’s always been a sense among Sanders’ supporters that the “establishment” — whether it’s the DNC, Clinton or her supporters — sees him as “a cute annoyance that they never expected to come this far.”

“Once he did show his strength, it’s, ‘OK, we’ve got to deal with this’ and the way he’s been dealt with has been unfair,” Turner said in May.

After Wasserman Schultz slammed the way Sanders responded to his supporters’ disruptive behavior at the Nevada Democratic Convention in May, Sanders said she wouldn’t be reappointed to chair the DNC if he became president. He also raised money for Wasserman Schultz’s primary opponent, Tim Canova, a move that Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, a Clinton supporter, described as a “really big mistake.”

Sanders began to shift fundraising efforts in May to help other progressive candidates for Congress and state-level offices, with more than $2.5 million raised for 21 candidates as of June 20.

“The day that he endorsed me, we raised a quarter-of-a-million (dollars) in one day, and in a little over five months, we raised over $2 million,” said Canova, a law professor. “It did give us a boost. I get endorsed by Bernie and immediately I’m on MSNBC, and CNN and Fox.”

On June 14, the day the District of Columbia held its primary, Sanders called for new leadership at the DNC as part of a “fundamental transformation” of the party. He also called for open primaries in which independents could vote for Democrats and for doing away with superdelegates, the party leaders and elected officials who can vote for the candidate of their choice at the convention — and who backed Clinton by a huge margin.

Senate Democrats gave him a warm welcome and standing ovation that day, when he spoke behind closed doors to his colleagues at their weekly luncheon, according to those who attended.

“Bernie is going to be good for the party,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said after his June 9 meeting with Sanders. “I’m confident he will be a good campaigner for Democratic senators and for the Democratic nominee.”

USA TODAY

Sanders gets more drafting committee representation

Follow @ngaudiano on Twitter.

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Attorney general to back FBI and Justice findings in Clinton email server probe – Washington Post

By Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima,

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch will support the recommendations from prosecutors and others leading probes into the use of a private email server by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, a Justice Department official said.

Lynch’s statement — expected later Friday during a gathering in Colorado — underscores the intense sensitivity surrounding the FBI and Justice investigations into the past use of an exclusive email server by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

By promising to abide by the recommendations, Lynch would directly address worries by Clinton critics and others that she — as an Obama administration appointee — could ultimately overrule the investigators.

Her expected statement reflects an apparent desire to reinforce a by-the-book approach to the Clinton case, which has already played a dominant role in Republican attacks on the campaign trail.

Lynch planned to make the comments later Friday during an appearance with Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.

[Political accusations fly after Lynch meeting with former president Clinton]

A Justice Department official said the attorney general will accept the “determinations and findings of career prosecutors and lawyers as well as FBI investigators and director [James B.] Comey.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of Lynch’s remarks. The New York Times first reported the expected Lynch comments.

The Justice official emphasized that the internal, step-by-step process to be outlined by Lynch is the common course. But it comes amid worries from Clinton critics and others of possible outside political influence swaying the investigations.

“There is unlikely a circumstance in which [Lynch] would not accept the determinations of the career prosecutors and investigators,” the official said.

Federal officials have already interviewed top Clinton aides, but have not yet questioned Clinton.

The issue of potential political intervention in the email case has sharpened in recent days after a private — and apparently chance — meeting between Lynch and former president Bill Clinton earlier this week at an airport in Arizona.

Lynch said the meeting was not planned and occurred when Clinton made a surprise visit to her plane on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Lynch on Wednesday described the conversation as a general chat about “his grandchildren and his travels and things like that.” She insisted that the email probe was not mentioned.

Republicans did not directly challenge Lynch’s account of the meeting but claimed that it raised the appearance of a possible conflict of interest and potential blows to the overall integrity of the probe.

The FBI is expected to make recommendations later this month to the Justice Department on the case as Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, prepares for November’s election.

Read more:

FBI director: No ‘external deadline’ for probe involving Clinton emails

Clinton aide Cheryl Mills leaves FBI interview briefly after being asked about emails

Officials: Scant evidence that Clinton had malicious intent in handling of emails

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The Senate will vote on 4 popular gun control proposals Monday. Here's why they probably won't pass. – Washington Post


(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Update: A new poll from CNN shows 92 percent of Americans support expanded background checks and 85 percent support preventing those on terror watch lists from buying guns. As we’ll explain in the post below, though, none of the below proposals aimed at these things are likely to pass.

One filibuster, two gun control proposals, four party-line votes, zero compromises, lots of finger pointing.

That’s what we can expect Monday evening as the U.S. Senate votes on four different gun control amendments — two offered by Republicans, two by Democrats — a week after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

We can confidently predict all four of these votes will go nowhere because the Senate took almost the exact same votes in December after the San Bernardino, Calif., attacks. Those votes largely fell — and failed — along party lines, with Republicans supporting looser versions of gun control proposals and Democrats supporting stricter versions.

We have no reason to expect different results Monday. Still, all is not lost: Both sides can and probably will use the results of Monday’s votes to rally their bases for November and try and apply pressure to the other side over the next few weeks and months.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on what Monday’s gun control votes mean and how to follow along.

The ground rules: The votes are expected to start at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, and they’ll be proposed as amendments to a larger spending bill for the Commerce and Justice departments.

All four amendments will need 60 votes to be included in the package, which will also need to gain final approval. But given the partisan makeup of the Senate (54 Republican, 46 Democrat), and how the gun debate tends to fall neatly along partisan lines, we don’t expect any of the proposals to advance.

No. 1: Tighten up our background check system (Republican amendment)


(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

What it proposes: Tries to open the lines of communication between the background check agency that Congress set up in the 1990s, the federal courts, the states and Congress to better carry out background checks. More specifically, defines what it means to be found “mentally incompetent” to buy a gun. Also requires the attorney general to conduct a study on “various sources and causes of mass shootings, including psychological factors, the impact of violent video games, and other factors.”

Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chair of the Judiciary Committee

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt 4751

How this fared in previous votes: Not well. A version of this that Grassley introduced in December failed to clear the 60-vote hurdle, 53-46.

Our prediction: It will fail this time too. Democrats don’t think it does enough to expand background checks because, well, it doesn’t expand background checks. It simply tries to improve the system we have now.

No. 2: Expand background checks (Democratic amendment)

The Fix’s Amber Phillips breaks down why Congress is unlikely to pass major gun control legislation, despite Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) filibustering for 15 hours on June 15. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

What it does: Requires that a federal background check be conducted before every gun sale in the U.S., period. (The background check system Congress set up in the ’90s only requires background checks by federally licensed firearm dealers, which means you can usually skip it if you try to buy a gun online, at a gun show or from your friend.)

Sponsor: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the senator who talked on the floor for nearly 15 hours Wednesday to demand these votes. (For what it’s worth, Senate Republicans say that even before Murphy seized the Senate floor, they expected Democrats to force votes on gun control amendments.)

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt 4750

How this fared in previous votes: Not well, although it got some bipartisan support. It failed to get the 60 needed to move on, 48-50, although four Republicans voted for it: Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Our prediction: It will fail again. Most Republicans don’t support expanding background checks to gun shows and other purchases — or simply fear any additional gun laws are a slippery slope.

No. 3: Prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns (Republican version)

The FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist reportedly had over 800,000 names on it in 2014. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub June 12, was once one of those names. Here’s what you need to know about the Watchlist. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

What it does: Right now, anyone on the FBI’s various terrorist watch lists — including the no-fly list that prevents you from getting on a plane — can legally buy a gun. Under this bill, if you’re on that list and try to buy a gun, you’d have to wait 72 hours. The idea is to give federal officials time to convince a judge there’s probable cause you have ties to terrorism while still protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of anyone who is mistakenly on a terrorist watch list — like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) once was.

Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Senate Republicans’ No. 2 leader

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt 4749

How this fared in previous votes: Not well. (Sensing a trend here?) A similar version failed in December on a 55-44 vote. Democrats — and Attorney General Loretta Lynch — say it’s impossible to put together a case that a potential gun purchaser is a suspected terrorist in just three days, so they argue this bill would essentially allow anyone on the watch list to still be able to buy a gun.

Our prediction: It will fail again, for the reasons described above.

No. 4: Prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns (Democratic version)


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

What it does: Lets the attorney general ban anyone on FBI’s various terrorist watch lists from being able to buy guns. If you feel like you’re mistakenly on the list and you get denied a gun, you can challenge the FBI’s decision in court.

Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt. 4720

How this fared in previous votes: Not well, although it got some bipartisan support. A similar version of this failed in December, 45-54, with two senators voting on the other side: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted with Republicans against this bill, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) voted with Democrats for this bill.

Our prediction: It will fail again. Republicans think this bill takes away people’s constitutional rights for due process because it bans them from buying a gun first, then allows them to challenge it in court later. And even as some Republicans have expressed a willingness to look at the no-fly list proposal — up to and including Donald Trump — they are more likely to favor the GOP proposal over this one.

Some potential areas of compromise

Believe it or not, there are some opportunities — however small — for Congress to move forward on gun control legislation in the wake of Orlando.

For example, here’s one new idea that almost all of the four proposals above, have added: If a person who has been on one of the FBI’s terrorist watch lists at any point in the past five years tries to buy a gun, the federal government must immediately notify law enforcement about it. The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, had been on and off the FBI’s watch list before he bought his weapons.

And there are negotiations going on behind the scenes to try to merge Democrats’ and Republicans’ terrorist watch list proposals. As The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian reports, Collins (R-Maine) is working on something that Democrats haven’t dismissed outright.

She wants to prevent people on two of the FBI’s terrorist watch lists (it’s unclear exactly many lists there are for perhaps obvious reasons) from buying guns: the no-fly list and the selectee list.

Both lists deal with a person’s rights at the airport. If you’re on the no-fly list, you can’t board an airplane. If you’re on the selectee list, you get extra security screening when you try to board a plane. Mateen was on the selectee list for a time. And under Collins’s proposal, if you are on these lists and are denied your right to buy a gun, you can challenge it, and if you win, the government has to pay your legal costs.

Again, her proposals are not exactly what Democrats want (they don’t like the idea of working with just these two terrorist watch lists) or what Republicans want (they don’t like the idea of banning a person from buying a gun first, then offering legal recourse later). But that’s the essence of a compromise, and right now it looks like the only one the Senate’s got.

Tellingly, Collins’s proposal isn’t up for a vote Monday, suggesting it might not yet have backing from Republican leaders.

Who to follow on Twitter for Monday’s votes

Definitely these knowledgeable congressional reporters and teams:

The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian:

C-SPAN’s Craig Caplan:

Fox News’s Chad Pergram:

Tonight’s votes regarding guns in the Senate are not up/down votes on those amdts. Simply votes to cut off debate. Each needs 60

— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 20, 2016

And CQ Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman:

Senate to hold 4 votes on Monday on terror watch list and background check amendments per Majority Whip Cornyn @rollcall @CQnow

— Bridget Bowman (@bridgetbhc) June 16, 2016

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The Senate will vote on 4 popular gun control proposals Monday. Here's why they probably won't pass. – Washington Post


(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Update: A new poll from CNN shows 92 percent of Americans support expanded background checks and 85 percent support preventing those on terror watch lists from buying guns. As we’ll explain in the post below, though, none of the below proposals aimed at these things are likely to pass.

One filibuster, two gun control proposals, four party-line votes, zero compromises, lots of finger pointing.

That’s what we can expect Monday evening as the U.S. Senate votes on four different gun control amendments — two offered by Republicans, two by Democrats — a week after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

We can confidently predict all four of these votes will go nowhere because the Senate took almost the exact same votes in December after the San Bernardino, Calif., attacks. Those votes largely fell — and failed — along party lines, with Republicans supporting looser versions of gun control proposals and Democrats supporting stricter versions.

We have no reason to expect different results Monday. Still, all is not lost: Both sides can and probably will use the results of Monday’s votes to rally their bases for November and try and apply pressure to the other side over the next few weeks and months.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on what Monday’s gun control votes mean and how to follow along.

The ground rules: The votes are expected to start at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, and they’ll be proposed as amendments to a larger spending bill for the Commerce and Justice departments.

All four amendments will need 60 votes to be included in the package, which will also need to gain final approval. But given the partisan makeup of the Senate (54 Republican, 46 Democrat), and how the gun debate tends to fall neatly along partisan lines, we don’t expect any of the proposals to advance.

No. 1: Tighten up our background check system (Republican amendment)


(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

What it proposes: Tries to open the lines of communication between the background check agency that Congress set up in the 1990s, the federal courts, the states and Congress to better carry out background checks. More specifically, defines what it means to be found “mentally incompetent” to buy a gun. Also requires the attorney general to conduct a study on “various sources and causes of mass shootings, including psychological factors, the impact of violent video games, and other factors.”

Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chair of the Judiciary Committee

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt 4751

How this fared in previous votes: Not well. A version of this that Grassley introduced in December failed to clear the 60-vote hurdle, 53-46.

Our prediction: It will fail this time too. Democrats don’t think it does enough to expand background checks because, well, it doesn’t expand background checks. It simply tries to improve the system we have now.

No. 2: Expand background checks (Democratic amendment)

The Fix’s Amber Phillips breaks down why Congress is unlikely to pass major gun control legislation, despite Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) filibustering for 15 hours on June 15. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

What it does: Requires that a federal background check be conducted before every gun sale in the U.S., period. (The background check system Congress set up in the ’90s only requires background checks by federally licensed firearm dealers, which means you can usually skip it if you try to buy a gun online, at a gun show or from your friend.)

Sponsor: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the senator who talked on the floor for nearly 15 hours Wednesday to demand these votes. (For what it’s worth, Senate Republicans say that even before Murphy seized the Senate floor, they expected Democrats to force votes on gun control amendments.)

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt 4750

How this fared in previous votes: Not well, although it got some bipartisan support. It failed to get the 60 needed to move on, 48-50, although four Republicans voted for it: Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Our prediction: It will fail again. Most Republicans don’t support expanding background checks to gun shows and other purchases — or simply fear any additional gun laws are a slippery slope.

No. 3: Prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns (Republican version)

The FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist reportedly had over 800,000 names on it in 2014. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub June 12, was once one of those names. Here’s what you need to know about the Watchlist. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

What it does: Right now, anyone on the FBI’s various terrorist watch lists — including the no-fly list that prevents you from getting on a plane — can legally buy a gun. Under this bill, if you’re on that list and try to buy a gun, you’d have to wait 72 hours. The idea is to give federal officials time to convince a judge there’s probable cause you have ties to terrorism while still protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of anyone who is mistakenly on a terrorist watch list — like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) once was.

Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Senate Republicans’ No. 2 leader

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt 4749

How this fared in previous votes: Not well. (Sensing a trend here?) A similar version failed in December on a 55-44 vote. Democrats — and Attorney General Loretta Lynch — say it’s impossible to put together a case that a potential gun purchaser is a suspected terrorist in just three days, so they argue this bill would essentially allow anyone on the watch list to still be able to buy a gun.

Our prediction: It will fail again, for the reasons described above.

No. 4: Prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns (Democratic version)


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

What it does: Lets the attorney general ban anyone on FBI’s various terrorist watch lists from being able to buy guns. If you feel like you’re mistakenly on the list and you get denied a gun, you can challenge the FBI’s decision in court.

Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

Amendment name to follow along on C-SPAN: S. Amdt. 4720

How this fared in previous votes: Not well, although it got some bipartisan support. A similar version of this failed in December, 45-54, with two senators voting on the other side: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted with Republicans against this bill, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) voted with Democrats for this bill.

Our prediction: It will fail again. Republicans think this bill takes away people’s constitutional rights for due process because it bans them from buying a gun first, then allows them to challenge it in court later. And even as some Republicans have expressed a willingness to look at the no-fly list proposal — up to and including Donald Trump — they are more likely to favor the GOP proposal over this one.

Some potential areas of compromise

Believe it or not, there are some opportunities — however small — for Congress to move forward on gun control legislation in the wake of Orlando.

For example, here’s one new idea that almost all of the four proposals above, have added: If a person who has been on one of the FBI’s terrorist watch lists at any point in the past five years tries to buy a gun, the federal government must immediately notify law enforcement about it. The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, had been on and off the FBI’s watch list before he bought his weapons.

And there are negotiations going on behind the scenes to try to merge Democrats’ and Republicans’ terrorist watch list proposals. As The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian reports, Collins (R-Maine) is working on something that Democrats haven’t dismissed outright.

She wants to prevent people on two of the FBI’s terrorist watch lists (it’s unclear exactly many lists there are for perhaps obvious reasons) from buying guns: the no-fly list and the selectee list.

Both lists deal with a person’s rights at the airport. If you’re on the no-fly list, you can’t board an airplane. If you’re on the selectee list, you get extra security screening when you try to board a plane. Mateen was on the selectee list for a time. And under Collins’s proposal, if you are on these lists and are denied your right to buy a gun, you can challenge it, and if you win, the government has to pay your legal costs.

Again, her proposals are not exactly what Democrats want (they don’t like the idea of working with just these two terrorist watch lists) or what Republicans want (they don’t like the idea of banning a person from buying a gun first, then offering legal recourse later). But that’s the essence of a compromise, and right now it looks like the only one the Senate’s got.

Tellingly, Collins’s proposal isn’t up for a vote Monday, suggesting it might not yet have backing from Republican leaders.

Who to follow on Twitter for Monday’s votes

Definitely these knowledgeable congressional reporters and teams:

The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian:

C-SPAN’s Craig Caplan:

Fox News’s Chad Pergram:

Tonight’s votes regarding guns in the Senate are not up/down votes on those amdts. Simply votes to cut off debate. Each needs 60

— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 20, 2016

And CQ Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman:

Senate to hold 4 votes on Monday on terror watch list and background check amendments per Majority Whip Cornyn @rollcall @CQnow

— Bridget Bowman (@bridgetbhc) June 16, 2016

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