WASHINGTON – A few e-mailers today asked for names of the senators who supported and opposed the background check plan sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), so here goes.
Starting locally, all four senators from Pennsylvania and New Jersey supported the background check bill in the critical vote Wednesday.
On plans to ban assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, the other big pieces of the push for tougher gun laws, Toomey voted “no” while the three local Democrats – Bob Casey, Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, voted yes.
On background checks, the measure that came closest to getting the votes needed to pass, five Democrats voted no – Max Baucus (Montana), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) and Mark Pryor (Arkansas) were opponents. Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) was the fifth Democratic “nay” but he did so for procedural reasons – he was a supporter of the bill and would have been a supporter if his vote would have been needed for passage.
All other Democrats and independents supported the Toomey-Manchin background check plan.
On the other side, four Republicans supported the plan – Toomey, Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Illinois) and John McCain (Arizona). All other Republicans voted against it.
The final tally was 54-46 in favor, but 60 votes were needed to advance. That was part of a deal between the two parties for considering the bill and other gun proposals, setting the thresholds at the level needed to overcome a filibuster without taking the time it would actually take (potentially weeks) to go through the process of trying to defeat an actual filibuster.